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The Swiatek Supremacy: Iga conquers Ons Jabeur, captures first hard-court Slam at US Open
Swiatek won her 10th straight final and won her second major of the season, dispatching the Wimbledon runner-up in straight sets.
Published Sep 10, 2022
WATCH: Swiatek and Jabeur faced off for a rematch of their Internazionali BNL d'Italia final on Saturday in Flushing Meadows.
NEW YORK—Iga, more like "1GA" Swiatek, a champion for all surfaces, romped to her third major title and first on hard courts Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the US Open final.
The world No. 1 became the first Polish player to win in Flushing Meadows, improved to 10-1 in finals—winning all 10 in a row, and all 10 in straight sets—and won a tour-leading 57th match of a scintillating season after one hour and 50 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I'm just super proud of myself because it wasn't easy match," she said after the match, "even though at the beginning I was dominating, I knew it's going to be tight and I knew that Ons is going to use any mistake that I'm going to make. I didn't want to back out.
"In second set it got really physical action and I'm happy that I got my level of energy up little bit more so I could finish and be really precise in those moments where I needed that. Yeah, we played on a really good level today."
Swiatek arrived in Flushing Meadows wary of her chances to win her first hard-court major, having struggled to string matches together in the aftermath of her 37-match winning streak. She was also highly critical of the balls used in the women’s event, deeming them too light to be conducive to her highly precise style of play.
She had her struggled through her first six matches, most notably when she trailed Jule Niemeier by a set and a break in the fourth round, and again in the semifinals when Aryna Sabalenka led the top seed 4-2 in the deciding set. Both times, Swiatek embraced the so-called “ugly win” and found her way into her third Grand Slam final.
Up against Jabeur in a rematch of their Internazionali BNL d’Italia final from earlier this season, it appeared the 28-year-old would have a certain edge given her superior play throughout the tournament, during which she put down a decisive comeback against Shelby Rogers, flipped an 0-3 head-to-head against Veronika Kudermetova, and dismantled streaking Caroline Garcia in the semifinals. She also boasted a 2-2 head-to-head against the two-time Roland Garros champion, having beaten her both at Slams and on hard courts.
All those preconceived notions went out the window during Saturday’s final: the 21-year-old Swiatek landed an astounding 90% of her first serves in the opening set and began the match winning 12 of the first 14 points.
Though Jabeur, who was playing her second straight Grand Slam final after finishing runner-up at Wimbledon, seemed to settle long enough to get the first break back, it was only an interlude for Swiatek’s first-set domination—ending it in barely half an hour.
Cheered on by 1994 champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the talented Tunisian attempted to make in-roads early in the second set but found the first close games of the match going to Swiatek in emphatic fashion: a pair of backhand winners helping the Pole hold and break.
As the match began slipping away from Jabeur, the soon-to-be world No. 2 appeared increasingly overawed by the occasion, going for an ill-advised jump drop shot and drilling a backhand into the net to hand Swiatek a 3-0 lead.
But just like the first set, Jabeur got a sudden second wind when Swiatek failed to convert opportunities for a double break. This time, she looked ready to make a match of it, pushing her rival to the brink of a deciding set in a marathon ninth game.
Saving three break points on her own serve, Swiatek earned her first championship point two games later when Jabeur erred wide off the forehand side, but an equally errant backhand set the set into its inevitable tiebreaker.
One last Jabeur surge saw her win three straight points and have the Sudden Death on her racquet, but Swiatek regained momentum with a powerful forehand and soon had a second championship point. One last forehand error from Jabeur clinched the contest and Swiatek raced towards the stands to celebrate with her team.
Swiatek becomes the first woman to win seven titles in a single season and the first to win 10 straight titles, both since Serena Williams in 2014 and 2015, respectively.