Sky high Swiatek!

Iga Swiatek, 21, believes “the sky is the limit” after she crowned her rise to the pinnacle of women’s tennis with a third Grand Slam title at the US Open on Saturday. The Polish World No. 1 claimed her second Grand Slam title of 2022 at Flushing Meadows, defeating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 (7-5). It was the latest staging post on a dazzling season which has provided ample evidence that Swiatek is the front-runner to dominate the sport as it heads into the post-Serena Williams era.

37-match winning streak

A second Grand Slam title on Saturday and a victory at the French Open in June are part of seven tournaments she has won this year, which included a 37-match winning streak as she swept to the top of the rankings. Swiatek, whose favourite surface is clay, says the fact that she was able to triumph in New York could prove to be a psychological watershed for her game. “At the beginning of the season I realised that maybe I can have some good results on WTA events. I also made it to semi-final of the Australian Open. But I wasn’t sure if I was on the level yet to actually win a Grand Slam, especially at the US Open, where the surface is so fast. It’s something that I wasn’t expecting for sure. It’s also like a confirmation for me that sky is the limit. I’m proud, also surprised a bit, happy I was able to do that,” said Swiatek.

Also Read: Iga Swiatek overcomes Ons Jabeur to lift maiden US Open 2022 trophy

Swiatek celebrates winning matchpoint in the final against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Saturday. Pics/Getty Images

Swiatek shrugged off the uniquely raucous New York crowd—chair umpire Louise Azemar Engzell made repeated calls for quiet amongst spectators which were routinely ignored—to close out her 10th straight victory in a final since 2019. In the final, Jabeur was in trouble right at the start against the clinical Swiatek, who was into her stride quickly with her serve and signature forehand. Jabeur was broken to love in her first service game. Swiatek held easily to go 3-0 up. Jabeur did break to close the gap to 2-3, but was let down again by her shaky service game as Swiatek broke back for a 4-2 lead. Jabeur was broken again and Swiatek took the first set.

Swiatek threatened to run away with the second set after breaking Jabeur and going 3-0 up, but Jabeur broke back  to cut the deficit to 3-2. Once again however, Jabeur was unable to make the service break count and Swiatek broke again for a 4-2 lead. This time, though, Jabeur dug deep to claw her way back to level the score at 4-4. The next three games went with serve and Jabeur was left serving to stay in the match. She fought off a match point at 5-6 and 30-40 down before holding for 6-6. Jabeur recovered from 2-4 down to lead 5-4 in the tie break before a composed Swiatek converted her second match point when Jabeur smacked a return long.

Also Read: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek first Polish woman to reach US Open QF

Mental toughness

Swiatek believes she’s a mentally tougher player now. “I’m mostly proud of the fact that mentally I’m not breaking up in those important moments. After the matches, even if I lose, I have no regrets because I know I’m giving my 100 per cent. I’m proud that I have much more solutions and options on court than I had before tennis-wise, but yeah, also mentally. I’m really proud of that because I just know how it feels to not have ideas on court, not have anything you can change to make the match better.”

10
No of finals Swiatek has consecutively won without dropping a set

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Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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