world no. 1 Iga Swiatek will play in her first US Open final on Saturday after coming from behind to defeat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-1 6-4.
Swiatek will face another first-time New York finalist in Ons Jabeur, who cruised to a more comfortable 6-1, 6-3 victory in her semifinal against Caroline Garcia.
Perhaps it seems fitting that Swiatek and Jabeur, two of the most in-form players in women’s tennis this year, meet in the last Grand Slam of the year: Swiatek is looking for a third major title and Jabeur is the first to lose at Wimbledon. final two months ago.
“I think it’s going to be a great battle,” Swiatek told reporters about the game.
To reach the final, the 21-year-old Polish star had to overcome a tough match against sixth seed Sabalenka.
The Belarusian, playing under a neutral flag at the US Open following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was broken at the start of the first set and held on to take the lead.
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Swiatek hit immediately in the second, breaking Sabalenka to love, then also winning her next two service games to love. Two more breaks followed later in the set as the top seed leveled the match.
In a tense deciding set, the pair traded breaks before Sabalenka took advantage to take a 4-2 lead. Swiatek wasn’t done, though, and took the next four games to close out the win.
She finished the match with 24 winners to Sabalenka’s 22 and converted seven of her 10 break points, the last on match point when Sabalenka served a backhand at the net.
“I definitely felt a big difference between the first set and the last two,” Swiatek told reporters.
“I’m really happy that I got my energy level 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 third, but I’m really happy that I “I did.”
Saturday’s match will be the first time a Polish woman has appeared in the final of the US Open, while Tunisian Jabeur is the first African woman to compete in the tournament.