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Swiatek on overcoming obstacles: “Winning when I’m not feeling perfectly, it’s the best kind of thing”

It has not been easy, but Iga Swiatek is through to the US Open final. Ons Jabeur stands in the Pole’s way of the title on Saturday afternoon

Iga Swiatek at the 2022 US Open in New York Iga Swiatek at the 2022 US Open in New York Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

For Iga Swiatek, the 2022 US Open has been about overcoming adversity.

Heading into New York, Swiatek was coming off early losses in Toronto (to Beatriz Haddad Maia in the third round) and Cincinnati (to Madison Keys in the third round). Before the US Open even began, the world No 1 was dissatisfied with the types of tennis balls that the women were using.

Despite a relative lack of form and less than ideal conditions, fast forward through almost two weeks and Swiatek now finds herself in the championship match. It will be her third Grand Slam final and she is seeking her third title.

She has had some challenges to overcome on the court, as well. The 21-year-old trailed Lauren Davis 4-1 in the second set of their third-round match before reeling off the last five games. She dropped a set to Jule Niemeier in the fourth round and also lost the opener to Aryna Sabalenka in the semis. After forcing a third against Sabalenka on Thursday, Swiatek trailed 4-2. Not to be deterred, the Pole stormed through the final four games to steal victory from Sabalenka.

“That’s basically the reason that I’m able to come back,” Swiatek said when asked about making adjustments. “Earlier I felt like my emotions kind of were taking over and I was panicking a little bit when I was losing. For sure I grew up; I learned a lot…. Right now it’s just easier for me to actually logically think what I can change, and I feel like I have more skills to do that than one type of way to play. So I’m pretty happy that it changed because I think that’s basically the most important thing on the highest level.

“I’m pretty happy that in this tournament I just was kind of fresh mentally to actually use the chances. Even though maybe I wasn’t feeling 100 percent perfectly from the beginning of the tournament, I was still able to get better and better and to play really solid game.

“It’s the best thing, basically. Like on clay, you know, I feel just perfect, you know. But for me actually winning when I’m not feeling perfectly, it’s the best kind of thing and best feeling. The satisfaction is pretty big.”

I think it’s going to be a great battle.

Ons Jabeur

Swiatek on Jabeur: “She has great touch”

There could be more adversity on Saturday, because Jabeur may be the toughest possible opponent in the final. After all, these two finalists are the top two in the 2022 points race. Jabeur also has the experience of playing in the Wimbledon final, so this won’t be her first rodeo.

“There are a lot of challenges because she’s a really solid player and she’s second in the race right now,” Swiatek noted. “Wimbledon final…she didn’t get points for that. But it shows how much progress she has done. She has different game style than most of the players. She has a great touch. All these things mixed up, yeah, she’s just a tough opponent.

“That’s why probably our matches are always kind of physical and really tight. She’s just a tough opponent and fully deserves to be in the final. I think it’s going to be a great battle.”

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