Poland’s Iga Swiatek confirmed her position at the pinnacle of women’s football with a second Grand Slam title of the season at the US Open.
The 21-year-old defeated Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in an hour and 50 minutes at Flushing Meadows, adding her first major trophy on hard court to her two French Open successes.
Her second win at Roland Garros in June was part of a 37-game unbeaten streak and it is fitting that Swiatek is the first woman since the American in 2014 to win seven titles in the tournament that has eliminated Serena Williams in a season.
The 21-year-old said: “I just don’t expect much, especially going into this tournament, it’s been such a challenging time. Coming back after a Grand Slam win is always difficult.
“Certainly this tournament was really challenging. It’s New York, it’s so loud, so crazy. I’m so proud that I was able to handle it mentally.”
Turning to Jabeur, the Pole said: “I know it’s quite a nice rivalry. I’m pretty sure we’ll have many more and you’ll win some of them, so don’t worry.”
Swiatek vs Jabeur: match statistics
|58%||Win percentage on 1st serve||53%|
|47%||2nd serve win percentage||32%|
|81||Total points earned||66|
While the top seed was swinging freely, barely missing a first serve and making every return, Jabeur struggled with all of those things, gaining just two points in his first three games.
She calmed down and brought back Swiatek with four clean wins, but the tide turned again quickly.
Jabeur, who is in her second straight Grand Slam final after losing to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, is at her best when she can express her vivacious personality, teasing opponents with drop shots and clever touches at the net, but the pace and accuracy of Swiatek’s ball kept them stuck behind the baseline.
The drop shots she attempted felt like desperate moves and mostly ended up in the net, while her serve, which was a potent weapon in those fortnight, didn’t work either.
Remarkably, Swiatek breaks serve in more than half of the returns she has played and Jabeur’s frustration grew when the Pole took the lead early in the second set.
It seemed little more than a glimmer of hope as Jabeur saved Breakpoints at 3-0. But as Swiatek became seemingly unsettled by repeated shouts from the crowd, the world No. 1’s level began to drop.
Jabeur fought back to equalize 4-4 and had she scored one of the three break points she created in the next game the contest might have gone to a decider.
But Swiatek persevered and, despite the lack of a match point, converted her second chance in the tie-break at 5: 6.
Two incredible weeks supporting my final at Wimbledon. I will keep working hard and we will get this title soon.
Jabeur said: “I want to thank the audience for cheering me up. I really tried, but Iga didn’t make it easy for me. She deserved the win today. I don’t like her very much right now, but it’s ok.
“Wonderful two weeks supporting my final at Wimbledon. I will keep working hard and we will get that title soon.”
Jabeur was applying to become the first African and Arab woman to win a Grand Slam, and she added: “I’m trying to push myself to do more. Hopefully I can inspire more and more generations. This is just the beginning of so many things. “
The triumphal march of Hewett and Reid comes to an end
Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid’s winning streak in wheelchair doubles at the US Open ended in a final loss to Martin De La Puente and Nicolas Peifer.
Hewett and Reid had won the title every year since 2017 but failed to make it six straight, losing to Spaniard De La Puente and Frenchman Peifer 4-6, 7-5 (10-6).
Reid played despite being forced to retire his first-round singles match against De La Puente through injury.
Hewett has another shot at silver in Sunday’s men’s singles final when he will attempt to stop Japan’s Shingo Kunieda from completing the calendar Grand Slam.
top seeds Ben Bentram became the inaugural Wheelchair Grand Slam champion in boys’ wheelchair, defeating fellow British player Dahnon Ward 6-4, 6-1.
John Peers and Storm Sanders became the first Australian since 2001 to win the mixed doubles title with a 4-6, 6-4 (10-7) win over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
“Playing on the biggest court in the world is an unforgettable experience,” Sanders said a day after losing in the women’s doubles semifinals. “We are coming again next year.”