Sensational Swiatek downs Jabeur for first US Open title

Tennis – US Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, U.S. – September 10, 2022 Iwa Swiatek of Poland celebrates with the trophy after winning the US Open. Photo: Reuters
  • Swiatek wins his third Grand Slam title.
  • First Polish woman to win the US Open.
  • The Tunisian Jabeur will regain second place in the world.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – World number one Iga Swiatek cruised to a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the US Open final on Saturday to clinch her first trophy at Flushing Meadows and her third Grand Slam crown.

Poland’s Swiatek fell to her back and covered her face with her hands after winning in the tight second-set tie-break after sealing the win when fifth-seeded Jabeur’s shot sailed long time.

It was French Open champion Swiatek’s first Grand Slam title twice on hard court and the 21-year-old is the first Polish woman to win the U.S. Open.

“I really needed to stay calm and focused on the goals, and at this tournament it was really difficult,” Swiatek said during the on-pitch trophy ceremony.

“It’s New York, it’s so loud, it’s so crazy. There were so many temptations in the city…I’m so proud that I could endure it mentally.”

In addition to the trophy, Swiatek also leaves New York with a winner’s check for $2.6 million.

“I’m really glad it’s not cash,” she said to laughter from the sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Swiatek did well during the match to disconnect from the crowd, who sometimes whistled and made other noises as she served, which earned her a severe reprimand from the chair umpire.

The demonstrative Jabeur was able to harness the energy of her fans at times, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Swiatek’s focus and determination.

“Ons, such an amazing tournament, such an amazing season,” Swiatek said after improving to 3-2 for life against Jabeur.

“I know it’s already a really great rivalry and we’re going to have plenty more. I’m pretty sure you’re going to win a few of them, so don’t worry.”

Despite the loss, Wimbledon runner-up Jabeur will regain her world number two spot at the end of the tournament on Sunday.

“I really tried but Iga didn’t make it easy for me,” Jabeur said.

“She deserved to win today. I don’t like her much right now but it’s okay,” she added with a smile.

“I will keep fighting and we will get this title very soon.”

Jabeur made history at Wimbledon when she became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final. She added another line in the history books in New York, becoming the first African woman to reach the US Open Championship Match.

“I hope I can inspire more and more generations, that’s the goal,” she said. “This is just the start of so many things.”

Tiebreaker errors

Swiatek came out firing on Saturday, pushing Jabeur deep in the court with his pinpoint serve and deep groundstrokes to take a 3-0 lead.

Jabeur found the range with her forehand to win back-to-back matches for 3-2, but the momentum was short-lived as Swiatek fought back and won the first 30-minute set when the Tunisian’s backhand landed in the net.

A confident front runner, Swiatek kept up the pressure early in the second as frustration began to mount for Jabeur, who dropped his racquet in dismay when his normally trusty dropshot landed short of the net in the second game of the set. .

Swiatek blasted a backhand winner down the line for a 3-0 second lead and it looked like the game would be a brief affair.

But Jabeur rallied, saving match point at 6-5 and forcing a tie-break.

She did, however, make some costly unforced errors in the tiebreaker, which opened the door for Swiatek, who exchanged a warm hug with the Tunisian after the game.

One in 40 million

Swiatek’s title in New York is the latest triumph of a season brimming with it.

She rose to world number one after the surprising retirement of Australian Ash Barty in March and quickly showed she was worthy of the position, winning 37 consecutive matches, including the French Open.

The clay-court specialist showed she could be successful on hard courts too, with victories in Indian Wells and Miami, but ultimately looked vulnerable after early exits in US Open tune-up events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

She made headlines in New York criticizing the balls used at the US Open and said her expectations of herself were low.

Swiatek’s path to the title was not easy.

She was due to fight after one set in her fourth-round match with 108th-seeded Jule Niemeier and 4-2 down in the third set against Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-final.

But she peaked at the right time, playing her best tennis of the tournament to defeat Jabeur and etch her name once again in Polish sporting history.

“Growing up in Poland, it’s not so sure for us to become tennis superstars,” she told ESPN as Polish tennis fans dressed in white and red chanted “Iga! Iga !”.

“When I was younger, I logically thought that I was only one of the 40 million inhabitants of the country. What is the possibility that I am the one who is there?

“I just worked hard day in and day out.”

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