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Defending champion Iga Swiatek knocked out of the US Open

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Iga Swiatek
Defending champion Iga Swiatek knocked out of the US Open. Photo/ USOpen.org.
  • Jelena Ostapenko knocked defending champion Iga Swiatek out of this year’s US Open in the last 16
  • Ostapenko will now face home favourite Coco Gauff for a spot in the semi-finals

An inspiring performance from Jelena Ostapenko knocked defending champion Iga Swiatek out of this year’s US Open in the last 16. Ostapenko fought back from a set down to beat the world number one 3-6 6-3 6-1 in New York and progress to the quarter-final stage.

With her fearless and aggressive approach, Jelena Ostapenko hit 31 winners while her opponent hit 18. The 26-year-old, who boasts a career-high ranking of world number five, has moved to a 4-0 record against Iga Swiatek. Speaking after her victory, Ostapenko said she always expects a tough battle while facing Swiatek.

Jelena Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko has advanced to the next round of the US Open. Photo/ USOpen.org.

“I always expect a tough battle against Iga. She’s won many Slams and she plays very consistently. I just went on court and I had to play aggressive because that’s what she doesn’t really like. In the third set, I stepped more in the court and I was serving better. I was just thinking that I have to play until the very last point, until we shook hands. I didn’t really give her many chances.” Eurosport quotes Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko will now face home favourite Coco Gauff for a spot in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek has lost the world number one spot to her rival Aryna Sabalenka. The Polish star has been world number one for 75 weeks. Swiatek will replace her after the US Open.

How The Game Unfolded 

Iga Swiatek had lost all three of her previous meetings against Jelena Ostapenko. The last time the two played was in February 2022, after which Swiatek embarked on a 37-match winning streak. The run led to the Polish star taking the world number one spot.

While facing Ostapenko, Iga Swiatek fell an early break behind. However, she quickly began to soak up the groundstrokes and quickly turned the entertaining set around. She held on to secure the set 6-3.

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek has been knocked out of the US Open by Jelena Ostapenko. Photo/ New York Post.

But after taking the first set handily, Swiatek found herself down 1-4 in the second set. The Polish star only struck one winner in the first five games of the set. This time, it was a deficit that she couldn’t overcome as Ostapenko played solid service games and eventually took the set.

With the momentum on her side now, Ostapenko continued to hit amazing groundstrokes. On the other hand, Swiatek was making errors and soon became completely overwhelmed in the deciding set.

Ostapenko had the chance to inflict a rare 6-0 scoreline on Swiatek but the Polish star denied her the opportunity. Nevertheless, Ostapenko won the set, which was what mattered the most.

I’m surprised that my level changed so drastically. Usually when I play bad, I play bad at the beginning, then I catch up or problem solve. This time it was totally the opposite. I don’t really know what happened with my game. I felt no control suddenly.” Iga Swiatek said after exiting the US Open, as per BBC Sports

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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