Swiatek swats aside Jabeur to win maiden US Open title

IGA SWIATEK (POL) celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Ons Jabeur (TUN) (not pictured) in the women’s singles final of the 2022 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. — REUTERS

NEW YORK — World number one Iga Swiatek swept to a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the US Open final on Saturday to clinch her maiden trophy at Flushing Meadows and third Grand Slam crown.

Poland’s Ms. Swiatek fell on her back and covered her face with her hands after prevailing in the tight second-set tiebreak, having sealed the win when fifth seed Ms. Jabeur’s shot sailed long.

It was twice French Open champion Swiatek’s first Grand Slam title on a hard court and the 21-year-old is the first Polish woman to win the US Open.

“I really needed to stay composed and focused on the goals, and at this tournament it was really challenging,” Ms. Swiatek said during the on-court trophy ceremony.

“It’s New York, it’s so loud, it’s so crazy. There were so many temptations in the city … I’m so proud I could handle it mentally.”

In addition to the trophy, Swiatek also leaves New York with a $2.6 million winner’s check.

“I’m really glad that it’s not in cash,” she said to laughs from the sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Ms. Swiatek did well during the match to tune out the crowd, who at times whistled and made other noises while she was serving, earning stern rebukes from the chair umpire.

The demonstrative Ms. Jabeur was able to harness the energy of her fans at times but it was not enough to overcome the focused and determined Ms. Swiatek.

“Ons, such an amazing tournament, such an amazing season,” Ms. Swiatek said after improving to 3-2 lifetime against Ms. Jabeur.

Despite the defeat, Wimbledon finalist Ms. Jabeur will regain her world number two ranking when the tournament concludes on Sunday.

Ms. Jabeur made history at Wimbledon when she became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final. She added another line in the history books in New York, becoming the first African woman to reach the US Open championship match.

Ms. Swiatek came out firing on Saturday, pushing Ms. Jabeur to the back of the court with her precise serve and deep groundstrokes to race to a 3-0 lead.

Jabeur found the range with her forehand to win back-to-back games for 3-2 but the momentum was short-lived as Swiatek broke back and took the 30-minute first set when the Tunisian’s backhand landed in the net.

A confident front-runner, Ms. Swiatek kept the pressure on early in the second as frustration began to mount for Ms. Jabeur, who dropped her racket in dismay when her normally trusty drop shot landed short of the net in the second game of the set.

Ms. Swiatek blasted a backhand winner down the line for a 3-0 second set lead and it seemed the match would be a brief affair.

But Ms. Jabeur rallied, saving a match point at 6-5 and forcing a tiebreak.

She made some costly unforced errors in the tiebreaker, however, which opened the door for Ms. Swiatek, who exchanged a warm embrace with the Tunisian after the match.

Ms. Swiatek’s title in New York is the latest triumph in a season overflowing with them. — Reuters