Head to head …
Pegula beat a then-teen Swiatek in three sets in Washington in 2019, not far from my humble suburban home.
Swiatek won in straight sets in Miami and did it again in the Roland Garros quarterfinals.
Pegula is actually far more successful in doubles than in singles, but this is her fourth Grand Slam quarterfinal in two years and her third this year.
Swiatek was dominant earlier this year, winning on hard courts in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, then switching to clay to win in Stuttgart, Rome and Roland Garros. Since then, she has not been so successful, losing to the dangerous ones Caroline Garcia in her native Poland. At her last tournament, she lost in the round of 16 Madison key.
Do you know me? I’m the best tennis player in the world. I won the French Open in 2020 and 2022. I’m a Polish woman.
If you said, “Oh yeah, I know Jessica Pegula and Iga Swiatek,” you’re right. If you said, “When do Serena Williams and Coco Gauff play?” …well, we have bad news, even if every well-known American in New York has had a good run.
This is an intriguing quarter-final. And it’s a chance for the US! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! (Trademark The Guardian Live Blogger Consortium) having another US Open semi-finalist after that Frances Tiafoe was the first American in 16 years to reach this stage.
Beau will be here shortly. Meanwhile, Tumaini tells Carayol how today’s other women’s quarterfinals went:
Under immense pressure from Arthur Ashe Stadium and with a huge chance for anyone brave enough to take it, Aryna Sabalenka’s devastating ball smash was in full swing as she returned to the US Open semi-finals for the second straight season and who outplayed former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6 (4) to reach her third Grand Slam semifinal of her career.
In a tournament with only one Grand Slam champion left in the quarterfinals, Iga Swiatek, few competitors arrived so desperate to finally claim their first Grand Slam title. Pliskova, the 22nd seed, reached her first Grand Slam final at the US Open in 2016, eventually rising to world No. 1. While ever present in the late stages of Grand Slam tournaments ever since, she is still searching for her first title.
As Ash Barty cemented her dominance last year, Sabalenka was right behind her, No. 2 in the rankings, for most of the season and was enjoying the best season of her career. After collecting WTA Tour titles but struggling at Grand Slams, she reached back-to-back semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open, but she never progressed.
Now eager to take the next step in her career, it was the fifth Sabalenka who emerged sharp and determined to face the situation. She served well, smashing the ball and infusing every shot with energy and vitality. As she thrived, Pliskova struggled a lot. Her feet were rooted to the spot, her service games riddled with double faults. Pliskova finished a nightmarish first set with a winner and 15 unforced errors, her only winner being an ace.
Pliskova was greatly improved in the second set. She started the set serve better, prevailing against Sabalenka in the tight moments of her serve. But in the greatest moments, Sabalenka was unplayable. She played an incredible tie-breaker, completely destroying the ball but also combining her muscular, impressive power with delicate touches; dainty drop volleys, sweet lobs and a nice drop shot in the tie-breaker.
Double faults have marred Sabalenka’s game throughout the year, but at seemingly every crucial moment, Sabalenka slammed second serves over 100 mph with ease. After hitting 23 double faults in a game earlier in the summer, she hit three at Ashe. She finished with one final moment of glory, a scene-stealing forehand return winner from a first serve to continue.
You can read the full report below: