In her third Grand Slam victory, Iga Swiatek defeated Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 to reclaim the top spot. This victory was her first US Open title.
Iga Swiatek won the US Open
Swiatek’s title defence and strong performance in the championship match are not shocking. Having accrued more ranking points than No. 2 Jabeur, the 21-year-old is unquestionably the best player in the world. She has had the most resounding success of her generation, going on a 37-match victory streak in the summer.
Swiatek was hardly a favourite throughout the buildup to Open, though. Swiatek’s form declined after his victory at the French Open, as he lost in the third round at Wimbledon and Cincinnati in back-to-back matches. She needed significant comebacks against Jule Niemeier in the fourth round and Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinal to get to the final, and her run there was similarly one built on guts rather than tennis of the highest order.
But from what she did on Sunday, it didn’t seem that way. Swiatek immediately left the previous several weeks in the rearview mirror and launched a furious, attacking, and powerful tennis assault on Jabeur, breaking her three times to win the opening set. Despite falling behind by a break in the second set, Jabeur pulled out all the stops and gave it her all to force a tiebreaker. In that game as well, Swiatek wasted a 4-2 advantage, giving Jabeur the ball to force a tie or a deciding.
The Pole then did what she had done to so many opponents before her: she isolated Jabeur’s forehand, took the match to her by hitting a deep return, displayed great flexibility in defence, and won three of the final four points to win the match and the title.
When she was at the top of the women’s game, this was a common theme. The 21-year-old lost her maiden career final but has since won all 10 of them without dropping a set. Swiatek is a player who always rises to the challenge. She boosts her level with a bigger occasion, more pressure, and higher. Swiatek’s performances during this breakthrough year have come to be known for their clutch play and titles: when she’s good, she’s practically unplayable. Few people are capable of returning the ball to play after one of her fierce groundstrokes, as Jabeur discovered in the final. The Polish woman credits the development of her killing instinct and tenacity to her psychologist Daria Abramowicz, with whom she has been consulting since she was 18 years old.