US Open champion Iga Swiatek thinks the sky is the limit after beating Ons Jabeur at Flushing Meadows
The 21-year-old Pole has a huge lead in the world rankings, but this is definitive proof that she is the best in the business on both hard and clay courts.
After a 6-2 7-6(5) win over Ons Jabeur at Flushing Meadows that added a first US Open crown to his two French Open wins, Swiatek said: “At the start of the season, I realized that maybe I could have some good results at WTA events, I also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
“But I didn’t know if I was still at the level to win a Grand Slam, especially at the US Open where the surface is so fast.
“It’s something I didn’t expect for sure. It’s also a confirmation for me that the sky is the limit. I’m proud, also a little surprised, just happy that I was able to do this. “
Her second victory at Roland Garros in June was part of a 37-game unbeaten streak and it’s only fitting that, in the tournament Serena Williams retired from, Swiatek became the first woman since the American in 2014 to win seven titles in one season. .
The Pole is a very different character to Williams and has a quiet presence on the pitch, but possesses an inner conviction that has now carried her to straight-set wins in her last 10 finals.
Prior to the tournament, Swiatek was vocal about her dislike of US Open balls, and she had struggled with form since lifting the trophy in Paris.
She had to come out of a set twice to make it to the final and, after looking in complete control for a set and a half against Jabeur, really had to give up to cross the line.
“Of course, (at) Roland Garros, I always feel like I have more control and I feel like Philippe Chatrier kind of fits me,” she said. “Here on (Arthur) Ashe, I still need to understand the atmosphere. I wasn’t sure before the game if this was really my place.”
Aiming to become the first African and Arab woman to win a Grand Slam title, Jabeur was playing in her second consecutive Grand Slam final after losing to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon.
She had been more impressive than Swiatek throughout the fortnight, but got off to a nervous start as the top seed was all clear from the first point.
Jabeur was watching a very heavy defeat when Swiatek held break points to make it 4-0 in the second but she couldn’t take them and from there, shaken by the repeated screams of the crowd, her level fell while his opponent fought to come back. in the game.
Had Jabeur broken to lead 5-4, the contest might well have been decisive, but Swiatek held on and, after missing a match point at 6-5, took second place in the tie-break.
Swiatek collapsed on the pitch when Jabeur’s last shot flew long and was in tears as she celebrated with her team before telling the crowd: “It’s New York, it’s so loud, so crazy. I’m so proud that I was able to handle it mentally.”
A sad-looking Jabeur praised his opponent, saying, “She deserved to win today. I don’t like her much right now but it’s okay.”
Later in the press room, the 28-year-old added: “She came out very strong and put a lot of pressure on me. It didn’t help. I was trying to get into the game. was very difficult.She was hitting the lines a lot of times, kinda annoying on her part.
“Second set, again, I had my chances, she had hers. I was just coming back, I was coming back. I know she didn’t play as well as the first set at times, maybe be that I should have tried my luck.
“I have nothing to regret because I did everything possible. I would have liked to serve a little better today. It would have helped me a lot. You know Iga, how she plays in the final. I will stay positive and working on the things that were missing today.”
Inspiring girls and boys from her home country and region is a key motivator for Jabeur, and she has no doubt that she will have a better chance of winning her first slam title.
“Wimbledon was definitely tough,” she said. “This one is going to be tough. It’s part of tennis. And that’s me. I struggled to win my first WTA title. It took me time. So I think it will take me time .
“The most important thing is to accept it, to learn from the final that I lost. But I’m definitely not someone who’s going to give up. I’m sure I’m going to be in the final again. I I’ll do my best to win it.”
One thing that Jabeur, who will return to world number two on Monday, certainly hasn’t lost is her sense of humor, and she ended her press conference by saying with a smile: “I was joking when I Said I didn’t love her. I’ll forgive her when she gives me a Rolex or something.”
READ MORE: US Open news: Indomitable Iga Swiatek wins third Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows