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Iga Swiatek Downs Ons Jabeur to Win U.S. Open Women’s Singles Title

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The 2022 U.S. Open will at all times be remembered — outside of Poland, no less than — for its farewell to Serena Williams, long the queen of tennis and the best women’s player ever.

Beware, though, after Poland’s Iga Swiatek won the ladies’s singles title Saturday, beating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia Saturday afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the game can have a latest ruler on its hands.

Swiatek, the world No. 1, lived as much as her billing and beat Jabeur, 6-2, 7-6(5), to capture her first U.S. Open singles title. It was the third Grand Slam title of Swiatek’s temporary profession and her first on a surface aside from clay.

When Jabeur’s last forehand sailed long, Swiatek collapsed on her back after a 1 hour, 51 minute duel that got dangerously close because the afternoon wore on. After a primary set that was over in half-hour, Swiatek and Jabeur took 81 minutes to complete the second as Jabeur battled back from a service break down twice to get the set right into a tiebreaker before Swiatek ultimately prevailed.

Swiatek, 21, won the French Open in 2020 and 2022, becoming the primary Polish woman to win a Grand Slam singles title. And now she is the primary Polish woman to win three and the U.S. Open, where she was the primary Polish woman to make the singles final.

How young is that this latest tennis queen? She is Gen-Z to the core. After the prolonged congratulatory hug with Jabeur, and a bit little bit of celebrating, she took a seat in her chair, pulled her phone from her bag and texted away as she awaited the trophy ceremony

For Swiatek, the victory was the newest success in a season stuffed with them. She won 37 consecutive matches and 6 consecutive titles from late winter to early summer. Those victories included the so-called Sunshine Double — winning each the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open in March and April.

Those wins, on hard courts just like those on the U.S. Open, announced Swiatek as a force on courts aside from clay, on which she was already dominant. She has won so many 6-0 sets this 12 months — a “bagel” in tennis parlance — that the saying “Iga’s bakery” was coined.

Swiatek’s surge to the highest got here at an opportune time. In March, Ashleigh Barty of Australia, a three-time Grand Slam singles champion and the world No. 1, abruptly retired at 25 years old, saying she had achieved all she wanted in the game and was ready for a latest challenge.

In her departure, Barty, then the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, left a major void in women’s tennis, which has largely been a free-for-all lately.

No woman has won greater than two Grand Slam titles in a calendar 12 months since Williams won three in 2015. Since late 2020, Swiatek has done all she will be able to to bring some order to women’s tennis, winning three of the past 10 Grand Slam titles.

Beyond her dominance on the court, Swiatek has assumed a leadership role off it. She has spoken out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine greater than any player who will not be from Ukraine and has helped raise greater than $2 million for relief efforts through her participation in tennis exhibitions, one in every of which she organized herself.

“We’re attempting to do our greatest to be good people,” she said in the course of the trophy ceremony, as red-and-white Polish flags swung throughout the stands.

From the beginning, all of the signs pointed to this being Swiatek’s afternoon. In the course of the warm-up, the sound system blasted AC/DC, one in every of her favorite bands. (Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin even have a significant presence on her playlist.)

Once the balls began flying, Swiatek gave little reason for anyone to imagine that this match would go any in another way from so many finals before. Coming in, Swiatek had played in 10 profession finals. She has not lost one since her first, way back in 2019. Much more remarkably, she has not lost a set in any of those wins.

“Iga never loses finals, so it’s going to be very tough,” Jabeur said Thursday night, as Swiatek staged her second comeback on this tournament from a set down in her semifinal battle against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, a player she was especially determined to not lose to for quite a lot of reasons.

Against Jabeur on Saturday, Swiatek ambushed from the beginning. She won 12 of the primary 14 points, sprinting to a 3-0 lead. Jabeur climbed back, getting back on function Swiatek momentarily lost control of her overpowering forehand. But then Swiatek went right back to business, with a mode that has turn into more clinical than fancy.

With Jabeur putting up so little resistance, she didn’t have to do far more than hit deep into the court. Eventually, Jabeur either made an error or landed a shot somewhere across the service line, allowing Swiatek to maneuver in and blast away. The primary set was over in half-hour.

The queens of girls’s tennis historically have done this form of thing.

Jabeur, the primary Arab woman to achieve a Grand Slam final within the Open Era and to achieve the best level of the game, has arguably essentially the most creative arsenal in the ladies’s game. When she is on, she will be able to mix jumping backhand drop shots with a dangerous forehand and a deceptively hard serve that she will be able to land within the corners with nasty movement.

She reached the Wimbledon final earlier this summer and held a one-set lead before tightening and getting overpowered by Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan. Ahead of Saturday, she spoke of the teachings she had learned from that match and the way she now knew ways to maintain her emotions in check.

But with Swiatek in top form, there was little that Jabeur, who has turn into an inspiration for Arab women, could do to stop the locomotive.

“We’re going to get that title sometime soon,” she said after losing her second Grand Slam final of the 12 months. “Hopefully that is the start of so many things.”

The second set followed an identical pattern to the primary at the start, with Swiatek surging to a 3-0 lead, Jabeur getting back on serve, after which Swiatek, seizing control right back within the sixth game to get inside two games of the championship

From there, the one query was whether Swiatek’s occasionally shaky psyche might get the higher of her or whether a crowd that swung to Jabeur’s side, begging her to increase the afternoon and make their high-price tickets worthwhile, might have the ability to rattle her.

A number of random knuckleheads began whistling in the midst of Swiatek’s service motion. A baby cried. Jabeur abandoned the lovable stuff. No more variety for variety’s sake. She tried to match Swiatek’s power from the baseline. It worked as she evened the set at 4 games each.

Swiatek is so different, though, from the delicate player who won her first Grand Slam title as a youngster. She has evolved from a player who cried in the toilet during toilet breaks in the midst of matches right into a problem solver.

That player might never have had a prayer of prevailing in Recent York, where all of the noise and commotion — passing trains and planes, fans who feel they’ve the correct to long raucous matches and to assist determine the end result — make winning here such a unique task from anywhere else.

“It’s Recent York, so loud, so crazy,” she would say later of each her past two weeks and this match.

Just keeping the ball in play was now not working. Jabeur was sending her forwards and backwards across the baseline and held possibilities to interrupt Swiatek’s serve in the subsequent game and serve for the second set. And just then, Swiatek found out learn how to calm her nerves and dial back the mistakes. It wasn’t pretty, however it solved the issue, or no less than stopped too many more from happening.

Jabeur would stretch Swiatek, getting as close as anyone has in a Grand Slam final to winning a set. But within the tiebreaker, strokes that had turn into smooth and regular began sailing. On their final point, Swiatek’s first serve was not even close, and she or he lobbed in her second ball. The forehand Swiatek hit off Jabeur’s return floated into the center of the court, but Jabeur couldn’t reap the benefits of it, and the championship was hers.

There ought to be many, many more.

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