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Swiatek carries hot streak against top-10 opponents into US Open semi-finals against Sabalenka

Iga Swiatek defeated yet another top-10 opponent in straight sets when she beat Jessica Pegula at the US Open on Wednesday. Aryna Sabalenka, who is also in the top 10, is next up for Swiatek in the semi-finals.

Iga Swiatek, US Open 2022 Iga Swiatek, US Open 2022 | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

With Iga Swiatek’s 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Jessica Pegula in the US Open quarter-finals on Wednesday night, the world No 1 has now defeated eight consecutive top-10 opponents in straight sets.

It is a streak that dates back to the WTA Qatar 1000 in February of this year. Swiatek beat three top-10 players there, another in Indian Wells, and two more in Stuttgart. Yes, all of those challengers succumbed in straight sets. Pegula did the same on Wednesday, although the American put up an impressive fight throughout a tense second set that featured 10 breaks of serve.

In the end, though, it was just another set in Swiatek’s favor.

“I’m super proud of myself,” the Pole said in her on-court interview when asked about the perfect streak against the top 10. “My goal, basically, is to be consistent. I remember when I was an underdog and every match [against top-10 players) was surreal. Now it feels pretty routine.”

But it hasn’t been routine against everyone. Swiatek has, of course, lost to other players since her top-10 run began. She fell to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon, Caroline Garcia in Warsaw, Beatriz Haddad Maia in Toronto, and Madison Keys in Cincinnati. None of those players were ranked higher than No 24 at the time.

THREE WINS FOR SWIATEK OVER SABALENKA IN 2022

Swiatek’s semi-final foe on Thursday night will be world No 6 Aryna Sabalenka. Unfortunately for the Belarusian, three of Swiatek’s eight straight-set successes during the current streak have come at her expense. Swiatek dominated their head-to-head matchups in Qatar, Stuttgart, and Rome.

Here is the list of her streak of eight:

  • Qatar QF: d. Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3
  • Qatar SF: d. Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-3
  • Qatar F: d. Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-0
  • Indian Wells F: d. Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-1
  • Stuttgart F: d. Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2
  • Rome SF: d. Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1
  • Rome F: d. Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2
  • US Open QF: d. Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-6(4)

“I guess each of these matches was totally different,” Swiatek said of facing Sabalenka. “(In) every one of these matches I had a totally different level of confidence. So it’s hard to compare. In Doha for sure it was the beginning. It wasn’t the beginning of the streak, but it was the first match where I realized I can actually play really solid against these top-10 players. Aryna was playing really good. It really gave me hope and motivation for the future.

“In Stuttgart I felt like I just continued what I had been doing for couple of last tournaments. I was happy that I was solid. Here it’s a Grand Slam. For the first time we’re going to play against each other in a Grand Slam. So I don’t know how it’s going to be.”

“She’s a great player,” Sabalenka assured. “(It’s) always tough matches against her. She’s moving well, hitting the ball really well, serving well. She’s a tough opponent, but I’ll do my best there and I’ll make her work as much as I can.”

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