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Iga Swiatek sweeps Ons Jabeur for U.S. Open title

Iga Swiatek

Poland’s Iga Swiatek reacts while playing against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur during their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2022. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Poland’s Iga Swiatek swept Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the U.S. Open final for her third Grand Slam singles title, extending her historic streak of dominance in finals.

Swiatek, 21, became the second woman in the Open Era to win her first three major finals in straight sets (Lindsay Davenport) and her 17 games lost over her first three finals shattered Davenport’s record fewest of 23. The Pole extended her streak to 10 consecutive wins in WTA tournament finals -- all in straight sets -- with this being the first time she lost more than four games in any set.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in 2020 and this year, became the youngest player to win three Grand Slam singles titles since Maria Sharapova took her third of five in 2008.

This seven-match run was different than her triumphs in Paris marked by perfection. In 2020, she won her first major while ranked 54th without losing more than four games in any set. At this year’s French, her title came on a 35-match win streak.

“On clay, I feel like I’m at home,” she said on ESPN. “But here, it was a new experience for me, so I’m even prouder.”

Going into this Slam, she lost in the second round of her two lead-up hard-court events. She made headlines before the U.S. Open by expressing dissatisfaction with the balls used at the New York City major. Twice this week, she rallied from a set down.

“I’m just not expecting a lot, especially before this tournament,” she said in the trophy ceremony. “It was such a challenging time. ... I’m so proud I could handle it mentally.”

None of those obstacles seemed relevant out of the gate Saturday. She won 12 of the first 14 points to go up 3-0 in eight minutes and won the first set in a half-hour against Jabeur, the second-best player in the world this year, the Wimbledon runner-up and, until the final, the better player over the course of this tournament.

“Iga never loses finals,” Jabeur said after the semis.

Jabeur rallied in the second set to become the first player to win more than five games off Swiatek in a final since Swiatek’s very first WTA final in 2019. Jabeur had three break points at 4-all in the second set for a chance to serve for the set. Swiatek held steady. Jabeur staved off a Swiatek match point at 6-5, but the Pole won the last three points of the tiebreak.

The 28-year-old Jabeur, already the first African woman to reach a major final in the Open Era (since 1968), vowed to continue to be an inspiration.

“This is just the beginning of so many things,” she said.

Swiatek, who ascended to No. 1 after Australian Ash Barty‘s shock retirement in March, goes into 2023 with a dominance over the tour arguably not seen since Serena Williams’ heyday. A win at the next major, the Australian Open, where she lost in the semifinals this year, would put her a Wimbledon title away from a career Grand Slam.

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