Swiatek uses late surge to get past Sabalenka in US Open semis

It will be Iga Swiatek vs Ons Jabeur for the US Open title after Swiatek won the semi-final nightcap in three sets over Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday. Swiatek is aiming for her third Grand Slam winner’s trophy

Iga Swiateks wins semi USO 22 Iga Swiatek wins semi USO 22 | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Iga Swiatek trailed Aryna Sabalenka by a set and after erasing that deficit she trailed 4-2 in the third. None of it mattered for the world No 1.

Swiatek had all the answers when her back was against the wall and she reeled off the last four games of the match to overcome Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the US Open semi-finals on Thursday night. The 21-year-old set up a final showdown against Ons Jabeur after two hours and 11 minutes.


Swiatek had won three matches in a row against Sabalenka heading into this contest, all in straight sets. So the top seed knew she could reel off back-to-back sets despite losing the first. That is exactly what she did, too.

The first step — taking the middle frame of play to force a decider — was entirely straightforward. Swiatek dropped only one game in the second. Things got tricky again, though, at the start of the third. Sabalenka broke serve right away for 1-0 and consolidated the lead en route to 4-2.

Nearing the finish line, and with it her first slam final, the Belarusian got tight. Coinciding with an increase in Swiatek’s level, the result was a swift turning of the tide. Swiatek made the final four games look easy, as she sprinted past Sabalenka and into the champion match against Jabeur.

Antoine Couvercelle/Panoramic

Swiatek finds a way to problem-solve

How did the top seed turn it around?

“Earlier when I was younger all I did in the bathroom between sets when I lost was cry,” she said during her on-court interview. “This time I could actually think about what to change and actually problem solve. I’m pretty glad that I that, because I just had a new idea for the second set.”

As for Sabalenka, she is now 0-3 lifetime in major semi-finals — including 0-2 at Flushing Meadows.

[There are] a lot of positive things from this tournament after such a tough year,” she reflected. “Going here to (the) US Open, I didn’t really expect from me any wins. But I made it. I really started playing better. I just have to keep going, keep trying, keep fighting, keep doing my best. I think things will go better.

“As I said, if not this year, then next year I will be ready for everything.”


  • Ons Jabeur [5] beat Caroline Garcia (17): 6-1, 6-3

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