In a riveting showdown under the lights of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Jelena Ostapenko showcased her formidable prowess by overpowering the defending champion and world No. 1, Iga Swiatek.
Rallying from a one-set trail, Ostapenko stamped her dominance with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory to clinch a quarter-final spot.
Ever since her dazzling emergence on the global tennis scene six years prior, Ostapenko’s fearless playstyle has made her a formidable opponent on any turf. Her knack for high-risk shotmaking can unsettle any competitor.
The result of Sunday’s match sees Swiatek’s impressive 75-week reign as world No. 1 draw to a close. Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open’s reigning champion, is now poised to claim the top rank.
A candid Swiatek expressed post-match, “Perhaps I still have maturity to gain in certain aspects of the game. Attempting to sideline certain thoughts sometimes backfires.”
Ostapenko, shedding light on her strategy, shared, “Understanding the immense pressure Swiatek was under as the No. 1, I aimed to stick to my game and challenge her at every step.”
Us Open Ostapenko – Swiatek Highlights
Ostapenko Post Game Press Conference
“I feel like now my game is getting back in place and I’m playing more free, in a good way, and not thinking too much. So, yeah, I’m just really glad with the win today.
I mean, I knew she’s a great player and she’s very, very consistent, especially last few years. I also knew she would have all the pressure because she’s obviously No. 1. I think if she lost against me today she loses the No. 1 spot. I was just trying to make it hard for her and to play my game and to fight until the very last point. I knew there will be moments when I have chances, and I waited for them. Second set 4-1, 4-3, a little bit tricky. I was still playing and I was fighting. Yeah, I think I dominated in the end of the match.
I mean, yeah, a lot of times she was serving in my body. Obviously of course I realized it during the match and I was ready for t. She improved her serve. It’s much stronger now. As I said, I was ready for this and I think I’m returning pretty well, so that’s not a big problem for me. Yeah, I think the main thing is that she doesn’t really like to play against big hitters. The three girls (Sabalenka, Rybakina, Krejcikova) and me. She likes to have some time. When I play fast, aggressive and powerful, she’s a little bit in trouble.
I mean, that’s what it is. She’s playing at home. I mean, it’s normal. The crowd is going to be for sure, like, supporting her a lot. But I think that’s fine because she’s playing at home. Of course, it’s going to be a tough match. But I’m going to, again, as I said, focus more on myself and on my game, recovery, tomorrow practice, be ready for the next one.”Jelena Ostapenko
Historical data indicated a mental advantage for Ostapenko, holding a 3-0 record against Swiatek. Ostapenko’s strong performance is indicative of Swiatek’s past struggles against aggressive players capable of dominating from the baseline. Their previous duel in Dubai saw Swiatek’s winning spree halted at 37 consecutive matches.
The initial stages of the match saw Swiatek leaning on her enhanced defensive skills. She adeptly countered Ostapenko’s aggressive shots and took the first set. However, Ostapenko’s relentless attacking style and improved serving during the second set turned the tide in her favor.
Swiatek found herself increasingly overwhelmed, struggling to handle Ostapenko’s power and precision. By the concluding set, Ostapenko had firmly taken charge, wrapping up the victory with her signature groundstrokes.
Reflecting on her journey since her 2017 French Open triumph at just 20, Ostapenko remarked, “Achieving a grand slam win was expected, but the ensuing pressure and attention were challenging. It’s impractical to be expected to clinch every match and tournament.”
Looking ahead, Ostapenko will next lock horns with sixth-seed Coco Gauff in what promises to be an electrifying quarter-final clash.