The 2022 U.S. Open will at all times be remembered — exterior of Poland, not less than — for its farewell to Serena Williams, lengthy the queen of tennis and the best ladies’s participant ever.
Beware, although, after Poland’s Iga Swiatek gained the ladies’s singles title Saturday, beating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia Saturday afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the game could have a brand new ruler on its palms.
Swiatek, the world No. 1, lived as much as her billing and beat Jabeur, 6-2, 7-6(5), to seize her first U.S. Open singles title. It was the third Grand Slam title of Swiatek’s temporary profession and her first on a floor apart from clay.
When Jabeur’s final forehand sailed lengthy, Swiatek collapsed on her again after a one hour, 51 minute duel that acquired dangerously shut because the afternoon wore on.
Swiatek, 21, gained the French Open in 2020 and 2022, turning into the primary Polish lady to win a Grand Slam singles title. And now she is the primary Polish lady to win three and the U.S. Open, the place she was the primary Polish lady to make the singles ultimate.
For Swiatek, the victory was the most recent success in a season stuffed with them. She gained 37 consecutive matches and 6 consecutive titles from late winter to early summer season. These victories included the so-called Sunshine Double — successful each the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open in March and April.
These wins, on exhausting courts just like these on the U.S. Open, introduced Swiatek as a power on courts apart from clay, on which she was already dominant. She has gained so many 6-0 units this yr — 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Ashleigh Barty of Australia, a three-time Grand Slam singles champion and the world No. 1, abruptly retired at 25 years outdated, saying she had achieved all she wished within the sport and was prepared for a brand new problem.
In her departure, Barty, then the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, left a major void in ladies’s tennis, which has largely been a free-for-all lately.
Till Swiatek’s win Saturday, no lady had gained greater than two Grand Slam titles in a calendar yr since Williams gained three in 2015. Since late 2020, Swiatek has performed all she will to carry some order to ladies’s tennis, successful three of the previous 10 Grand Slam titles.
Past her dominance on the court docket, Swiatek has assumed a management position off it. She has spoken out towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine greater than any participant who just isn’t from Ukraine and has helped increase greater than $2 million for reduction efforts via her participation in tennis exhibitions, certainly one of which she organized herself.
On a lighter notice, she was among the many gamers this summer season who led an outcry over the balls that girls use on the U.S. Open, that are totally different from people who males play with.
From the beginning, all of the indicators pointed to this being Swiatek’s afternoon. Through the warm-up, the sound system blasted AC/DC, certainly one of her favourite bands. (Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin even have a serious presence on her playlist.)
As soon as the balls began flying, Swiatek gave little cause for anybody to imagine that this match would go any in another way from so many finals earlier than. Coming in, Swiatek had performed in 10 profession finals. She has not misplaced one since her first, method again in 2019. Much more remarkably, she has not misplaced a set in any of these wins.
“Iga by no means loses finals, so it’ll be very powerful,” Jabeur stated Thursday night time, as Swiatek staged her second comeback on this event from a set down in her semifinal battle towards Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, a participant she was particularly decided to not lose to for quite a lot of causes.
In opposition to Jabeur on Saturday, Swiatek ambushed from the beginning. She gained 12 of the primary the primary 14 factors, sprinting to a 3-0 lead. Jabeur climbed again, getting again on function Swiatek momentarily misplaced management of her overpowering forehand. However then Swiatek went proper again to enterprise, with a method that has turn out to be extra medical than fancy.
With Jabeur placing up so little resistance, she didn’t have to do far more than hit deep into the court docket. Finally, Jabeur both made an error or landed a shot someplace across the service line, permitting Swiatek to maneuver in and blast away. The primary set was over in half-hour.
The queens of ladies’s tennis traditionally have performed this kind of factor.
Jabeur, the primary Arab lady to achieve a Grand Slam ultimate within the Open Period and to achieve the best stage of the game, has arguably probably the most inventive arsenal within the ladies’s sport. When she is on, she will combine leaping backhand drop pictures with a harmful forehand and a deceptively exhausting serve that she will land within the corners with nasty motion.
She reached the Wimbledon ultimate earlier this summer season and held a one-set lead earlier than tightening and getting overpowered by Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan. Forward of Saturday, she spoke of the teachings she had realized from that match and the way she now knew methods to maintain her feelings in verify.
However with Swiatek in high type, there was little that Jabeur may do to cease the locomotive.