New York – As good as it was this year, Iga Swiatek Came to the US Open not sure what to expect.
She complained that the women used different and slightly lighter tennis balls than the men at Flushing Meadows, as she was not past the fourth round. She was trying to get used to the noise and distractions, the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. She has reached a record-breaking only 4-4 since her 37-game winning streak ended in July.
None of this matters now. She cemented her position as the new dominant figure in her sport by winning what is expected to be her last championship Serena WilliamsCareer, Swiatek topped the #1 ranked no 5 Anas Jaber 6-2, 7-6 (5) at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday to win her first US Open and third Grand Slam title overall.
“I don’t expect much, especially before this tournament,” said Swiatek, who is 55-7 in tour-level matches with seven titles in 2022, both top performers in the WTA. “It’s been a tough time, you know?”.
She said, “Sure, this tournament was really challenging, too, because it’s New York. It’s so loud. It’s so crazy. I’m really proud that I can mentally handle it.”
Swiatek, like Jabeur, travels with a sports psychologist, and it took some persistence to finish this one. At 6-5 in the second set, Swiatek held her first championship point. Just before Jabeur was introduced, Swiatek sprinted to the sideline to change rackets – an unusual choice at the moment.
When the action resumed, Swiatek missed a backhand. It could have been difficult to recover from. Indeed, Jaber pushed things into the tiebreak, which then led 5-4. But Swiatek solidified herself, grabbed the last three points and quickly accepted the Silver Cup and a $2.6 million check, joking: “I’m really glad this isn’t cash.”
The 21-year-old Polish player won the French Open for the second time in June and is the first woman since then Angelique Kerber In 2016 to collect two major titles in one season.
“I really tried, but Iga didn’t make it easy for me. She deserved to win today,” said Jaber, a 28-year-old from Tunisia who will rise to second in the rankings on Monday.
Jaber smiles as she looks at Swiatek, and told an audience who gave her a lot of support, “I don’t like her very much right now, but that’s okay.”
Jaber is the first African and first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final and was participating for the second time in a row. But she was 0-2 at that point, as she was the runner-up at Wimbledon in July.
“I know I will keep working hard, and I know we will get that title one day soon,” Jaber told her fans and support team, who were wearing black T-shirts with white text that read “Yalla Habibi.” “Arabia let’s go, my love!”
It didn’t help that 85°F (29.4°C) sunny afternoon needed Jabeur to tackle Swiatek, who has won the past 10 finals – all in straight sets – and has been fantastic from the start.
Jaber didn’t face a single break point in Thursday’s semi-final win against her Caroline Garciabut broke instantly when Swiatek hit a cross backhand from a short ball to crown a 15-hit exchange.
Eight minutes later, Swiatek had snatched 12 of the first 14 points to win 3-0.
Using her heavy forehand hit in the top spin to take charge from the baseline early on, Swiatek set the pace and path for the points. She turned her opponent this way and that, never letting Jabeur use the kinds of courses and variety she was used to.
When Jaber, who will rise to number two in the standings on Monday, showed some of what she could do, Swiatek managed, for the most part, to extend the points. She used her powerful coverage of the court, backed by the soundtrack of sharp sneakers darting everywhere, even slipping occasionally when she hit the ball, the way one does on red clay, her favorite surface.
When Jaber missed a chip forehand early in the second set, she dropped her racket to reflect her desperation. After a few points, she threw her racket unbalanced and fell flat on her face. A running backhand pass from Swatik on the next point made it 2-0 in that set. Swiatek raised his clenched fist and shouted, “Come in!”
Then Jaber made things interesting, for a while.
But only for a short time.
She made it to 4-all, and after she ended up on her back when an unbalanced backhand won a point in the next game, she stayed there, enjoying the moment, pumping her fists as she lay on the ground.
Jaber had three break points in that match, one of which would have allowed her to serve for the group. She couldn’t push there, even though she lost a ground hit on both of them.
Swiatek needed to wait 10 minutes from the point of the first match to the point where the contest was closed, but she did. Maybe you’ll feel more comfortable at the US Open from now on.