US Open: 'Anybody can win this tournament' – Swiatek advances to first Flushing Meadows quarter-final

By Sports Desk September 05, 2022

After defeating Julie Niemeier in a less than inspiring showing, Iga Swiatek feels the race for the US Open title is wide open, and any of the women remaining in the quarter-finals can go all the way

In an uncharacteristic opening set from the world number one, Swiatek had her serve broken in the very first game, and conceded another break to drop the frame 6-2.

She fought back in the second as they traded breaks of serve, with only three successful holds from 10 games as Swiatek took it 6-4, before really finding her groove in the third to run away with a 6-0 finish.

It was her 19th 'bagel' set of the season, with only Serena Williams in 2013 (25) posting more 6-0 sets in a single year since 2000.

When asked about that record, Swiatek said she is aware of it, and that she enjoys Twitter memes referring to "Iga Swiatek's Bakery", although she did not wish to discuss any potential records.

Instead, she discussed the work she has been putting in on the hard courts, having never made the US Open quarter-final before this run.

"For sure, hard court is our goal at the beginning of the season, not the end of the season," she said. "Also we're mainly practicing on hard court pre-season. 

"These are the courts that basically are going to show me where my level of tennis is.

"I played too many matches this year to get, like, huge excitement honestly. But for sure today I'm the most excited because the quarter-final is my best result right now. 

"I'm just happy that I did a better job than last year and I'm going to push forward."

Swiatek was complimentary about her next opponent, Jessica Pegula, admitting "she has a game style that suits these courts", but she pointed out how many emerging players are on the tour at the moment and how it may simply come down to who can handle the big moments.

"I guess it's going to show who's going to cope with being in a new situation better," she said.

"But I think it's just exciting for all of us. It also shows that anything can happen, and anybody can win this tournament."

Related items

  • Sabalenka relishing 'great battle' with best friend Badosa at Roland-Garros Sabalenka relishing 'great battle' with best friend Badosa at Roland-Garros

    Aryna Sabalenka paid tribute to "great fighter" Paula Badosa and is relishing the opportunity to play her best friend on the WTA Tour in the French Open third round.

    The pair have endured contrasting fortunes in their opening two matches at Roland-Garros this week.

    Sabalenka has dropped just seven games on the way to straight-set victories over Erika Andreeva and Moyuka Uchijima, while Badosa has come from behind to beat Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva.

    The reigning Australian Open champion - fresh from reaching successive clay-court finals in Madrid and Rome - cannot wait to face the Spaniard, but acknowledged their friendship will be put aside when they collide.

    "She's my favourite," Sabalenka said. "I love her so much. I love to see her play, and she's really a great fighter, so it's always great matches.

    "It's always tough to play your friend, really your best friend on tour, but we know how to manage that. We know how to separate court and life. So, it's always a great battle, a great fight against her. I always enjoy playing against her."

    Sabalenka has won each of the last four meetings between the players, though the most recent in Stuttgart earlier this year ended prematurely with an emotional Badosa forced to retire injured. 

    The former world number two has endured a seemingly endless battle with injuries in recent times, with a back problem forcing her to miss the second half of last season and seeing her drop out of the WTA's top 100.

    "She has a big personality," Badosa said of her opponent. "She always brings this good energy, even on court. She's a very active, very intense player.

    "I'm really looking forward to that match. I think the last time [in Stuttgart], it finished in a sad way. I learned a lot from that match. I think it was a very good one from both sides.

    "Sharing the court with her - after all these results she's getting - is a pleasure for me, because this past year hasn't been easy. Playing this kind of match makes it all worth it."

  • Vondrousova and Keys hold off tough tests to reach French Open third round Vondrousova and Keys hold off tough tests to reach French Open third round

    Marketa Vondrousova and Madison Keys were both pushed hard but advanced to the fourth round of the French Open on Thursday.

    Vondrousova's topsy-turvy match against Katie Volynets started on Wednesday before concluding on Thursday, with the number five seed coming out on top 0-6, 6-1, 6-4.

    The American started strongly, storming through the first set, but Vondrousova recovered well to take a commanding 4-1 lead before rain washed out the rest of the game.

    Vondrousova picked up where she left off upon resumption on Thursday and won one game before another delay due to rain, but eventually saw out the win.

    Keys, meanwhile, won in straight sets against Mayar Sherif, holding out for a 6-0 7-6 (9-7) victory.

    The American cruised through the first game, enjoying three breaks, but a stern fightback from Sherif almost caused some problems.

    Keys held her nerve though, avoiding a decider by saving three set points to prevail on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

    Vondrousova will face Chloe Paquet in the next round, while Keys will play either Sara Errani or Emma Navaro. 

    Data Debrief: Vondrousova marches forward

    The Roland Garros is the tournament where Vondrousova has won the joint-most career matches (13, equalling Indian Wells). 

    She is also unbeaten against opponents ranked above 100 in the WTA since the start of 2023, going 10-0 against such competitors. 

  • Djokovic marches into French Open third round after dominant straight-sets win Djokovic marches into French Open third round after dominant straight-sets win

    Novak Djokovic eased through to the French Open third round following another straight-sets victory over Roberto Carballes Baena at Roland-Garros.

    The reigning champion, who is seeking a record-breaking 25th grand slam singles title, took just over two hours to wrap up a 6-4 6-1 6-2 win and set up a showdown with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti in round three.

    Not since the 2017 Australian Open has Djokovic failed to progress beyond the second round at a major.

    It looked like the Serb would be in for a tough battle as Carballes Baena broke in the opening game, though he did respond immediately before the first set appeared finely poised at 4-4 and deuce.

    Djokovic subsequently drew first blood, and it was very much one-way traffic thereon.

    Indeed, from 4-4 in that first set, the world number one won 14 of the next 17 games to sail into the last 32.

    Data Debrief: Djokovic surpasses Nadal at Roland-Garros

    The undisputed 'King of Clay', Nadal's record of 14 French Open titles looks highly unlikely to be under any severe threat in the near future.

    However, Djokovic has surpassed the Spaniard by reaching round three at Roland-Garros for a 19th time in his 20 appearances - the most appearances by any player during the Open Era.

    The Serb also notched up his 94th match win at the French Open. That is his joint-most at a single ATP event in his career, matching is tally at the Australian Open, where he is a 10-time champion.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.