US Open runner-up Ons Jabeur hopes her historic run to the final at Flushing Meadows can help inspire future generations of players from African and Arab nations.

Tunisian Jabeur went down 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to world number one Iga Swiatek in Saturday's thrilling final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 28-year-old was the first African female player to reach the singles final at the US Open in the Open Era, having earlier this year become the first such player to reach the showpiece match of a grand slam in the Open Era.

Jabeur lost 3-6 6-2 6-2 to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, though despite not winning a set against Swiatek, gave a better account of herself this time around.

It has been some rise for Jabeur, who had previously never reached a semi-final in 20 previous major appearances. She will be the world number two when the new WTA rankings are confirmed on Monday.

An African player has not won a grand slam singles title since 1981, when Johan Kriek triumphed at the Australian Open. He retained his title a year later, yet was competing for the United States.

Indeed, a player from the continent, male or female, has not enjoyed success at any major since Cara Black won in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2010, but Jabeur is hoping that will soon change.

"I want to thank the crowd for cheering me on, I really tried, she deserved to win today – I don't like her very much right now, but it's okay," Jabeur smiled as she hailed Swiatek's performance in her on-court interview.

"An amazing two weeks to be honest, making up for my final at Wimbledon. I'm going to keep working hard and we'll get that title sometime soon."

Asked how proud she was of her history making season, Jabeur replied: "It really means a lot and I try to push myself to do more. Getting the major is one of the goals.

"Hopefully I can inspire more and more generations, that's the goal and I get inspired by so many champions. Thank you also to my team, always pushing me.

"We want more and more kids coming here hopefully, I just really hope I can inspire more. This is just the beginning."

Jabeur is the first player to reach the final at both Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season since the great Serena Williams did so in 2019, and only the seventh player overall since the turn of the century.

After struggling to find rhythm in the first set, the fifth seed hit back in the second, coming from 4-2 down to restore parity and subsequently save the first of Swiatek's championship points en route to forcing a tie-break.

Jabeur found herself serving for the set at 5-4 up, yet a wonderful Swiatek forehand and a sloppy shot into the net handed her opponent a second bite at the cherry.

The Pole took it thanks to an overhit Jabeur forehand, meaning the Tunisian has now lost seven of her 10 Tour-level finals, and all three of the showpiece matches she has played in on hard courts.

Iga Swiatek reflected on a "mindblowing" Flushing Meadows experience after clinching her first US Open title with yet another straight-sets final win.

Swiatek defeated Ons Jabeur 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in New York on Saturday to win her third major – all of them in straight sets.

The world number one is only the second WTA player to win her first six grand slam final sets in the Open Era, after Lindsay Davenport.

In fact, Swiatek has now won her past 10 finals in two sets, becoming the first woman to do so in the 21st century.

Seven of those have come in 2022 – Serena Williams, in 2014, was the last player to win as many Tour-level finals in a season – as Swiatek has dominated.

However, the Pole explained after beating Jabeur how "challenging" it was to win a second slam in the same season, having already taken the title at the French Open.

Angelique Kerber was the last WTA player to win multiple majors in a single year back in 2016, while Williams, in 2013, was the last to double up at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.

Asked how she rose to the occasion once again, Swiatek replied: "I don't know, honestly.

"I'm just not expecting a lot. Especially before this tournament, it was such a challenging time. Coming back after wining a grand slam is always tricky, even if Roland Garros was the second one.

"I really needed to stay composed and focused on the goals.

"For sure this tournament was really challenging also, because it's New York, it's so hard, it's so crazy. There were so many temptations in the city, so many people I've met who were so inspiring.

"It's really mindblowing for me. I'm so proud I could handle it mentally."

This was Swiatek's fifth match against Jabeur, and victory gave her a 3-2 lead in their head-to-head.

"Ons, such an amazing tournament, such an amazing season," the top seed added. "I know this is already a pretty nice rivalry.

"I know we're going to have many more, and I'm pretty sure you're going to win some of them, so don't worry."

Swiatek is the first Polish female player to win the US Open in the Open Era, and she was asked how her latest success would be received.

"I don't know. I've got to go back home and check," she answered. "I'm pretty sure it's a lot; I can even hear what's going on right now in the stadium.

"Right now, we've got to stay united and really support ourselves and stay together. I'm pretty happy I could unite people with our sport, and I'm proud tennis is getting more and more popular at home."

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

Iga Swiatek is relishing what she expects to be "a great battle" with Ons Jabeur in the US Open final.

The world number one came from behind to defeat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-1 6-4 in Thursday's semi-final to set up a shot at a third grand slam title.

Swiatek will now face Tunisia's Jabeur, who is yet to win a major and suffered defeat in this year's Wimbledon final.

Asked about the task of taking on the world number five in Saturday's showpiece, Swiatek said: "There are a lot of challenges because she's a really solid player and she's second in the race right now.

"You know, Wimbledon final. She didn't get [ranking] points for that, but it shows how much progress she has made.

"She has a different game style than most of the players. She has a great touch. All these things mixed up... she's just a tough opponent.

"That's why probably our matches are always kind of physical and really tight.

"She's just a tough opponent and fully deserves to be in the final. I think it's going to be a great battle."

The Pole conceded she was still lacking trust in her ability on hard courts, with clay her favoured surface, as evidenced by two French Open titles.

But she is delighted to have overcome that in order to push on to a maiden final at Flushing Meadows.

"I just feel like the work that I did pays off," she said. "I feel like even though I lost in Toronto and Cincinnati pretty early, it gives you a chance to prepare and you have to be ready during that time to actually use that.

"I'm pretty happy that on this tournament I was fresh mentally to actually use the chances. I'm pretty happy that even though maybe I wasn't feeling 100 per cent perfectly from the beginning of the tournament, I was still able to get better and better and to play a really solid game."

From her past 50 matches, Swiatek has a record of 46-4, and coming into this tournament she had 8605 ranking points – with second-placed Anett Kontaveit down at 4360.

She is also the first number one seed to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams did it back in 2014, snapping the equal-longest drought on that front at any grand slam in the Open Era.

Ons Jabeur feels she is more prepared emotionally to handle the task of a grand slam final the second time around, after being upset in the Wimbledon final earlier this year.

Jabeur defeated Caroline Garcia in Thursday's semi-final, needing only 67 minutes to storm through 6-1 6-3 to reach her second consecutive grand slam decider.

Her loss to Elena Rybakina in July's Wimbledon final was her first time making it to the final match of a grand slam, but after winning the first set in that match, Jabeur fell apart, losing the next two sets 6-2 6-2.

Speaking to the media after earning another chance at a major title, the 28-year-old said she is more focused this time around after being almost starstruck at Wimbledon.

"It feels more real [this time], to be honest with you," she said. "At Wimbledon I was kind of just living the dream, and I couldn't believe it. 

"Even just after the match [today], I was just going to do my thing, not realising it was an amazing achievement already… I hope I'm getting used to it.

"I'm just happy about the fact that I backed up the results in Wimbledon and people are not really surprised I'm in the finals… now maybe I'll know what to do in the final."

Touching on what lessons she learned from that experience, she said she feels she will not be overwhelmed if she is faced with the prospect of being one set away from a grand slam.

"From Wimbledon, just, you know, a lot of emotions," she said. "Just going to that final was really tough for me, especially the second set. I think I handled things very well coming to the court and playing the first set.

"But then I feel like this final, I'm going full in, I'm going for everything. Definitely also learning from Rome's final [lost to Iga Swiatek], Madrid [defeated Jessica Pegula] and other ones.

"I feel very positive about this one. You know, the most important thing is not to regret, because I'm going to give it all on this one. Even if this one is not going to happen, I'm very sure that another one will come."

When asked if her preparation has changed at all from Wimbledon to now, she said minor tweaks to her mindset are the key.

"Will I do things differently? Probably yes," she said. "Some things maybe in the match, for sure, but I think I'm definitely going to think about [Wimbledon] and think about how I played, and the emotions and my focus more than tactically.

"At certain times I think I played not the right way in the final, so it didn't help me much. But always, it's always nice to stick with the same plan. 

"You know, when you get stressed sometimes, you just don't know how to think. I think that I'm going to use [that experience] very well… I think it's going to be great."

Iga Swiatek will have a chance to win her third career grand slam after defeating Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-1 6-4 in a gutsy come-from-behind win in Thursday's semi-final.

Poland's Swiatek, who has also won the French Open in 2020 and 2022, will play Ons Jabeur in the decider after the Tunisian won her semi-final against the in-form Caroline Garcia in straight sets earlier on.

It continues a remarkable season for the 21-year-old Swiatek, having also reached the semi-final at the Australian Open, before rattling off a 37-match winning streak that saw her claim six titles in a row and put a massive gap on the field as the world number one.

Belarus' Sabalenka was impressive in the opening set, attacking Swiatek's second serves to generate plenty of break points. She won 10-of-12 opportunities against Swiatek's second serve in the first frame, creating six break point chances and taking three.

Things flipped in the second set, and it was all about Swiatek making the adjustments, increasing her first serve accuracy from 64 per cent in the opener to 94 per cent in the second. 

She won 14-of-17 points in those situations in the second frame, and converted all three of her break point opportunities as Sabalenka got sloppy, committing 15 unforced errors with only six winners.

Sabalenka threatened to run away with things late – twice managing to go up a break in the third set – but Swiatek showed composure beyond her years as she continued to fight back.

From 4-2 down in the decider, Swiatek rattled off the next four games in a row, going up 40-0 against Sabalenka's serve in the final game and finishing things off with her second match point.

Data Slam: Swiatek continues historic season

From her past 50 matches, Swiatek has a record of 46-4, and coming into this tournament she had 8605 ranking points – with second-placed Anett Kontaveit down at 4360.

She is also the first number one seed to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams did it back in 2014, snapping the equal-longest drought at any grand slam in the Open Era.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 2/3

Sabalenka – 4/7

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 24/31

Sabalenka – 22/44

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 7/10

Sabalenka – 5/10

Ons Jabeur was wildly impressive in her 6-1 6-3 victory over the red-hot Caroline Garcia in the US Open semi-final on Thursday, getting the job done in just 67 minutes.

Jabeur, the world number five, was dominant in the opening set, winning 75 per cent of her service points and 61 per cent of her return points, allowing no break point opportunities while taking all three of her own chances to break.

She wrapped up the first set in 24 minutes, and after an even start to the second frame, Jabeur capitalised on her first and only break point chance to grab the decisive lead.

Tunisia's best ever tennis export served things out in style, finishing the match without Garcia ever seeing a break point chance.

It ends a remarkable run for Garcia, who entered the contest on a 13-match winning streak, with 31 wins from her past 35. After dominating Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, Garcia became the betting favourite to win the tournament.

For Jabeur, it continues a career-best season after reaching her first ever grand slam final at Wimbledon, and her ranking will be bumped up to number two in the world when it next updates.

She will play the winner between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka in the decider.

Data Slam: Jabeur makes more history for African tennis

Jabeur is the first African, Arab or Tunisian woman to ever reach the US Open final, after also accomplishing that feat at Wimbledon.

Through six matches at this tournament, she has only lost one set – in the third round against American Shelby Rogers.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Jabeur – 21/15

Garcia – 12/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Jabeur – 8/2

Garcia – 2/0

BREAK POINTS WON

Jabeur – 4/4

Garcia – 0/0

Iga Swiatek may be the world number one and have had a 37-match winning streak this year but says she is surprised to reach this week's US Open semi-finals.

Swiatek qualified for her third grand slam semi-final for the season with a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) victory over American eighth seed Jessica Pegula in one hour and 53 minutes on Wednesday.

The 2022 French Open champion and 2022 Australian Open semi-finalist became the first women's top seed to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 2016.

The victory comes after Swiatek's 37-match winning streak was ended in the third round at Wimbledon in June by Alize Cornet, winning four out of seven matches at three tournaments following that as the WTA Tour moved to hard courts in the lead-up to the US Open.

Swiatek expressed her surprise at making the last four during her on-court interview after the match and explained that, following early losses in the lead-up tournaments in Cincinnati and Toronto.

"Looking logically at the last tournaments, I just didn't know if this one is going to be possible for me to be consistent and to win so many matches in a row," Swiatek told reporters.

"I feel like I've been playing better and better every week since the start of this swing. So it surprised me because after the losses that I had in Toronto and Cincinnati, I just wasn't expecting to play so well here.

"It gave me actually a lot because I could be kind of an underdog again, not maybe fully, but just not expect from myself that I'm going to win everything right now."

The Pole said her game "clicked" against Pegula, hitting 22 winners compared to the American's 14, winning 43-of-71 points on return.

"I'm pretty proud of it because I feel like I'm playing better and better every match," she said.

"Jessie was a tough opponent today, for sure. Second set was really tight. We both were fighting till the last point. I'm proud of myself that I could be the one to win the last one."

Swiatek will take on Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals, while Pegula bows out having reached the quarter-finals at three of the four majors this year.

"I go back and forth, I should be positive," Pegula said. "At the same time I'm like, three quarterfinals. Sorry, but it sucks. It sucks.

"I wish I could have done it here at my home slam, but I guess not. I wish I didn't have to play Iga every quarter-final or Ash Barty, which seem to be the two people that don't really lose that often. So it just sucks.

"I had a great year at the slams. I know there's still some tournaments left. I'm a little deflated right now. I'm not real happy. It just sucks to lose. I just wish it would have been different tonight."

World number one Iga Swiatek has continued her commanding 2022 season with a straight-sets victory over eighth seed Jessica Pegula securing her spot in the US Open semi-finals for the first time.

The Pole, who won this year's French Open and went on a 37-match winning streak until her third-round Wimbledon defeat, triumphed 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 53 minutes in a match full of breaks.

Swiatek's victory, her 55th of the season, clinched a semi-final date with sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka, who fell in the last four at last year's US Open.

The 21-year-old became the first women's top seed to reach the US Open semi-finals since Serena Williams in 2016, while she is the only previous grand slam winner remaining in the draw.

In a match that was far from a classic, Swiatek fought back from a break down in the first set to take the advantage, before a second frame that included 10 breaks, with the Pole edging home in a tie-break.

Pegula broke Swiatek in the fifth game to lead 3-2 in the first set but the Pole responded emphatically, going on a sequence where she won 14 of 15 points to secure the set.

Swiatek appeared ready to run away with the match when she immediately broke the American in the first game of the second set but that merely set the tone, with both players struggling to hold on serve.

The world number one served twice for the match but faltered, forcing a tie-break which the Pole won, converting her first match poinit.

Data slam: Breaks galore in tense battle

Holding serve proved challenging in a tense match, with 13 games broken out of the 21 played, including 10 of those coming in the second set. Swiatek had broken serve 57 per cent of her return games during the US Open coming in.

Both players also had more unforced errors than winners, with Swiatek's 21 winners ultimately proving the difference in class. It was Swiatek's eighth win over a top-10 opponent in a row in straight sets.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 1/3
Pegula – 1/3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 21/32
Pegula – 14/29

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 7/11
Pegula – 6/10

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."

Iga Swiatek survived a major scare as she came from a set and a break down to beat Jule Niemeier and set up a US Open quarter-final with Jessica Pegula.

The world number one looked to be in a real spot of bother against the German ranked 107 places below her, but Niemeier could not maintain her blistering start and Swiatek claimed a 2-6 6-4 6-0 victory.

Swiatek initially looked a shadow of the player who had not lost a set in the first week, with Niemeier's power and unpredictability causing the Pole no end of issues.

Niemeier was immediately a break up and had no problem consolidating before eventually getting another to lead 5-2.

So underwhelming was Swiatek that Niemeier could even afford three double-faults in the final game of the opener as the German impressively took a first-set lead.

After a bathroom break, Swiatek returned with greater purpose but was still lacking ruthlessness; she inexplicably missed a forehand on break point at 1-0 up in the second, and then she stuck a simple volley into the net a few minutes later to find herself a break down.

That was the first of seven breaks in a second set defined by poor serving, but Swiatek was just slightly better than her opponent, with successive breaks giving her the edge in a rollercoaster encounter.

From there, Niemeier barely registered as a threat due to her wastefulness, recording four double-faults and 14 unforced errors to Swiatek's zero and one respectively in the decider as the latter bageled her opponent.

 

 

World number one Iga Swiatek says she reminds herself that it is impossible to continually play at the level she achieved during her 37-match winning run earlier this year.

Swiatek reached the second week at the US Open for only the second time after Saturday's 6-3 6-4 win over Lauren Davis and has moved into title favouritism, creating a level of perceived pressure.

That comes amid a run of form where the 2020 and 2022 French Open champion has been far from the levels achieved during her 37-match winning streak which ended in July at the hands of Alize Cornet at Wimbledon.

Since then, Swiatek has only won seven of 10 matches. Swiatek's victory over Davis marked the first time since the winning streak that she has managed three straight victories.

The Pole's hard-court form line has not been compelling either but the exit of Serena Williams along with top seeds Anett Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari, Paula Badosa and Simona Halep has thrust her into US Open favouritism.

But the 21-year-old is trying not to put any extra pressure on herself with that in mind, nor re-discovering the form she displayed earlier in the year.

"Honestly I didn't even focus on that cause I still remember how it is to lose," Swiatek told reporters. "After the tournament in Cincinnati [when she lost to Madison Keys in August], I knew like it's not the end of the world that I'm losing in third round.

"It's not like the whole universe changed so right now I'm always going to be in quarter-finals or finals or whatever, win tournaments. I tried just to remind myself that it's kind of normal, that it's impossible to play always on the same level.

"Here I just took it match by match. I wasn't expecting maybe too much because of the losses, so that's good. It's not like I lost confidence or something. I still know anything can happen on these tournaments."

Swiatek admitted she lacked rhythm against Davis, who had led 4-1 in the second set, before the Pole fought back to win the final five games.

The 21-year-old won 21 of the final 25 points of the match, securing her 53rd victory of the 2022 season, closing in on Ash Barty's 57 from 2019.

"It wasn't as smooth as in first and second round," Swiatek said. "I'm pretty happy I made it through and could close it in second set and come back. That was pretty important for me.

"For sure she played totally differently than most of the players, which threw me a little bit off the rhythm. But I'm happy I was fighting till the end."

Top seed Iga Swiatek reached the US Open fourth round for the second time in her career after reeling off the final five games to beat Lauren Davis on Saturday.

The two-time French Open champion, who enjoyed a 37-match winning streak earlier this year, defeated Davis 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 57 minutes.

Swiatek had trailed 3-0 in the second lap but fought back emphatically to seal her passage into the last 16 where she will face either Jule Niemeier or Zheng Qinwen.

The attention in the women's singles has firmly turned to Swiatek, with Serena Williams eliminated along with the second, third and fourth seeds.

The Pole did not disappoint, hitting 25 winners and six aces, albeit with 38 unforced errors and an apparent lack of rhythm.

Swiatek wrapped up the first set in 59 minutes but world number 105 Davis offered a tougher test in the second after breaking in the second game.

The highly favoured Swiatek had to work out to avoid a 4-0 deficit, holding her serve in a 16-point game, but she showed she was back breaking Davis to love to make it 3-4.

Swiatek won 21 of the last 25 points of the match to book her spot in the second week in New York for the second straight year.

Data Slam: Swiatek finding her hard-court groove

The win improved Swiatek's 2022 tally to 53 matches but it also moved her a step closer to becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2014 to win seven titles in a single year.

Swiatek has not quite reached the same dizzying levels lately since her 37-match winning streak, which was halted in the third round at Wimbledon, with this victory being only her fifth from eight during the hard-court season.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 25/38
Davis – 12/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 6/3
Davis – 0/6

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 3/14
Davis – 1/3

Iga Swiatek suggested there has been a lack of leadership at the top of tennis in how to deal with Russia's invasion of Ukraine after Victoria Azarenka was shunned by Marta Kostyuk at the US Open on Thursday.

Ukrainian Kostyuk elected not to shake hands with Azarenka following a second-round defeat at Flushing Meadows, instead merely tapping rackets.

That came after Kostyuk criticised the Belarusian for participating in a charity match for Ukraine, before the United States Tennis Association announced she would no longer be involved.

Belarus maintains close ties with Russia and has been under sanction from western nations for supporting Vladimir Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March.

Both situations led to a frosty atmosphere following the conclusion of the tie, which Azarenka won 6-2 6-3.

Asked if anything could be done to address tensions between players on the tour, world number one Swiatek, who booked her place in the third round with a 6-3 6-2 win over Sloane Stephens, said: "Well, basically I think it's already too late. I mean, it's never too late, you know, but I think the best time for ATP or WTA to do anything was when the war started, and where the tension was pretty big in the locker rooms.

"I think right now it's already pretty messed up, and maybe next time it's gonna be easier for us to handle it if somebody is going to guide us and somebody is going to even arrange some meetings between players and showing that we should be united.

"Even though there are countries who are invading other countries, we are tennis players. It's sad but it's not our fault that it's happening. Yeah, I think it would be much, much easier at the beginning to do that.

"Right now, it's kind of too late to fix that. But I think it's just in between players and their personal relationships how you're going to handle it and how you're going to communicate to each other.

"But from my case, right now it's easy to say that maybe there was lack of leadership, but at that time I didn't know what to do either. But there are smarter people than me, so they should kind of have an idea."

Victory over Stephens means Swiatek has now won 52 matches in 2022. The last players with more WTA-level wins in a single campaign were Ash Barty (57) and Kiki Bertens (55) in 2019.

Serena Williams is dominating the headlines, though, in what is likely to be her last tournament before retirement – a situation Swiatek is more than happy with. 

Asked if she felt like she was flying under the radar, Swiatek said: "Maybe a little bit, yeah, for sure. You can see the difference than on Roland Garros and on Wimbledon when I came back after winning Roland Garros.

"But I would say it doesn't really matter for me. If I'm going to play well and if I'm going to do my work on court, I know I will be fine in terms of everything that's going around.

"But, yeah, Serena totally deserves it and it's pretty obvious for me that she's going to be in the spotlight in this tournament. That's kind of her time right now. I'm just playing and focusing on that, and that's the most important thing for me."

Swiatek will face Lauren Davis in the next round after the American beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 0-6 6-4 7-6 (10-5). 

Iga Swiatek is through to the third round of the US Open after securing a routine victory against Sloane Stephens at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Stephens, who won the 2017 US Open, struggled to keep up with Swiatek as the latter showed her quality on Thursday to win 6-3 6-2.

The number one seed set the tone early by breaking her 29-year-old opponent, and though Stephens responded by breaking straight back, she lost her own service again immediately after.

Swiatek almost broke for a third-straight time but Stephens was able to rescue herself from 15-40 down in the fifth game of the match, though it just delayed the inevitable as the Pole sealed the first set after her opponent hit a backhand effort down the line too long.

There was little sign of a momentum shift as Swiatek broke twice more and raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set.

Though Stephens was taking several games to deuce, Swiatek showed her class to edge over the line in most of them and although the American made the score more respectable with two service holds, it was not enough.

Swiatek confirmed a routine victory with a service hold to love, and will now face another American, Laura Davis, in the next round.

Data Slam: Swiatek's impressive 2022 numbers grow and grow

Swiatek has now won 52 matches in 2022. The last players with more WTA-level wins in a single campaign were Ash Barty (57) and Kiki Bertens (55) in 2019.

The way she is playing at Flushing Meadows, it would not be a surprise to see her overtake Bertens before the end of the tournament.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 14/17
Stephens – 7/18

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 1/2
Stephens – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 4/12
Stephens – 1/2

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