| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA

 

The women’s singles final at the 2022 U.S. Open and it features two first-time New York finalists, as top-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland will square off against fifth-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

Swiatek defeated sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in the second Night Session match on Thursday night, fighting back from a set down to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to secure her spot in the finals.

“I felt a huge difference between the first set and the last two,” said Swiatek. “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.”

Even after Swiatek won the second set to force the decider, Swiatek was broke in her opening service game of the set as Sabalenka seemed to regain the momentum. But Swiatek dug in on the return and used her elite speed to track down Sabalenka’s shots and snatch back the break to even things at 4-4.

After holding serve for a 5-4 lead, Swiatek would race out to a 4-0 lead on Sabalenka’s serve, and closed out the semifinal victory with one more break of serve.

“I think I backed up a little bit maybe on the return, but I just went all in, you know,” Swiatek said of her adjustments in the third set. “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 playing risky, because the pace was really, really high.”

Swiatek will face a different style of opponent in the finals as Jabeur presents a much craftier game with more variety, as opposed to Sabalenka’s power.

Jabeur claimed her spot in the championship match by beating France’s Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 in the first semifinal.

“It feels amazing,” said Jabeur. “After Wimbledon there was a lot of pressure on me and I’m really relieved that I could back up my results.”

After reaching the Wimbledon final earlier this summer, Jabeur is now into her second straight major final, and becomes the first African woman to ever reach the U.S. Open final.

“At Wimbledon I was kind of just living the dream, and I couldn’t believe it. Even just after the match, I was just going to do my things and not realizing it was an amazing achievement already,” said Jabeur. “But now I just hope I’m getting used to it, you know, just happy with the fact that I backed up the results in Wimbledon and people are not really surprised I’m in the finals, but just going and going and just doing my thing. Now maybe I know what to do in the finals. I know it’s going to be very difficult, but I’m going to have to do my best now.”

Jabeur and Swiatek have split the four previous matches they played, with Swiatek claiming the most recent matchup, a 6-2, 6-2 in the Rome final earlier this year.

“She has a different game style than most of the players. She has a great touch…she’s just a tough opponent,” said Swiatek. “That’s why probably our matches are always kind of physical and really tight…She’s a tough opponent and fully deserves to be in the final. I think it’s going to be a great battle.”

The two will play for the U.S. Open trophy on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.