New York:-World No. 1 and two-time champion at Roland Garros Iga Swiatek of Poland fought back from a 2-4 deficit in the third set to overcome Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and secure a place in the US Open final for the first time in her career on Friday (IST).
Swiatek will meet No.5 seed Ons Jabeur in Saturday’s women’s singles final after the Tunisian thrashed No.17 seed Caroline Garcia of France 6-1, 6-3 to become the first player to advance to the final in Wimbledon and at the US Open in the same season since Serena Williams in 2019.
Swiatek made several comebacks on way to making the US Open final, fighting back from a one-set deficit, as well as from a break down in the third set twice, before getting past the powerful No.6 seed Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 2-hour, 11-minute inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I felt a huge difference between the first set and the last two,” Swiatek was quoted as saying by WTA after the match. “I’m pretty happy that I got my level of energy up a little bit.
“Aryna made it difficult today, for sure. I felt like she was serving pretty solid. It was hard to come back in the third, but I’m pretty happy that I did.”
Swiatek, who had never made a quarterfinal appearance at Flushing Meadows before this season, is into her third career Grand Slam final, her second of the year and first after the French Open. The Pole is 2-0 in Grand Slam finals in her career. She won in Paris in 2020 and earlier this year.
Swiatek and Jabeur have shared the honours in the four matches they have played against each other, and are 1-1 on hard courts. In their only meeting this season, Swiatek easily defeated the Tunisian in the Rome final on clay.
“(Jabeur) has a different game style than most of the players,” Swiatek said. “She has a great touch. All these things mixed up, yeah, she’s just a tough opponent.
“I feel like Aryna served pretty well today, better than on our other matches,” Swiatek said. “(Losing the first two games of the third set) kind of helped me to get back on ground and realise I still have a lot of expectations even though the second set was pretty dominant.
“I just went all in, you know. This time it actually gave me a lot, and the balls that I played went in. I’m pretty happy because I feel like we were both kind of sometimes risking, because the pace was really, really high,” added Swiatek.
This was Sabalenka’s third narrow loss in a Grand Slam semifinal. The Belarusian fell in the last-four stage at 2021 Wimbledon and the 2021 US Open.
Jabeur got the better of Garcia in just 66 minutes, producing eight aces and 21 winners.
“So important,” Jabeur said. “She (Garcia) comes in the court and puts a lot of pressure on my second serves. I’m really glad she didn’t break me in the end — would have been really tough to go to 5-4.”
Jabeur has reached the last-four in her past two Grand Slam appearances after having never reached this stage in her first 20 majors.
“After Wimbledon, a lot of pressure on me,” Jabeur said. “I’m really, really relieved that I backed up my result. I’m very glad I made it to the finals here.”