US Open: Swiatek survives Jabeur fightback to claim Flushing Meadows title

By Sports Desk September 10, 2022

Iga Swiatek turned in a stellar display befitting of her talent as she sealed the US Open title with a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) defeat of Ons Jabeur.

Swiatek has perhaps been short of her very best in New York but, despite a second-set wobble, found her level on Saturday to win a third major – the youngest player to do so since Maria Sharapova in 2008. 

Jabeur, the first woman to reach the final of Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season since Serena Williams in 2019, gave her all, forcing the world number one into a real battle in the middle of a tense second set.

It came down to a tie-break, but having won her last nine successive WTA finals in straight sets, Swiatek found the composure to pull through and cement her place at the summit of the game.

Nerves had Jabeur on the back foot from the off, with the Tunisian – the first African female to reach the singles final at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era – dropping serve to love to trail 2-0, with Swiatek swiftly going three to the good.

Jabeur stopped the rot for 3-1 before a display of power off both forehand and backhand gave the world number five two break points, the second of which she took, yet she could not keep the momentum going on her serve, conceding again and, this time, Swiatek did not let up, taking the set when her opponent sent a simple volley long.

Like in the first set, it was 2-0 when Swiatek broke, this time clipping a backhand down the line after latching onto a weak volley, Jabeur unable to assert any control.

A supreme backhand saw Swiatek take the next game, too, though she squandered a break chance when she appeared to be distracted by a shout from the crowd.

The pendulum swung firmly in Jabeur's favour when she made it 4-4, only for the 28-year-old to then pass up three break points.

Having dug deep to get through Jabeur's fightback, Swiatek had championship point at 40-30 up in the 12th game. As the crowd held their breath, the youngster changed racquets.

Perhaps it was forced, perhaps a ploy. Either way, the change backfired, Jabeur rolling off three successive points to force a tie-break. 

Jabeur kicked a ball into the crowd in anger after an overhit forehand gifted Swiatek a 4-2 lead, but a trio of points mounted the pressure back to the other side of the court.

Yet it was pressure that Swiatek was able to handle, seeing out two Jabeur serves to turn the tables back in her favour and, on this occasion, she prevailed - Jabeur hitting long to end her brave fight.

Data Slam: Swiatek's year of dominance 

Jabeur and Swiatek entered Saturday's showpiece with the most wins in 2022 and the latter has now matched former world number one Ash Barty's record of 57 victories in a single season (Set in 2019), a haul the 21-year-old will surely overtake.

The first top-seeded female player to reach the final at the US Open since Williams in 2014, Swiatek has matched the 23-time grand slam champion in another metric, too, becoming the first player to win seven titles in a single season since the American great did so eight years ago.

Swiatek is only the ninth player in the Open Era to win her third grand slam title before turning 22, after Sharapova, Justine Henin, both Williams sisters, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 1/0

Jabeur – 2/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 19/30

Jabeur – 14/33

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 5/12

Jabeur – 3/9

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