Jeļena Ostapenko extended her impressive unbeaten record over world No. 1 Iga Świątek on Sunday, eliminating the defending US Open champion in the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows.
The sheer power from the big-hitting Ostapenko once again proved too much for Świątek, with the Latvian winning 3-6 6-3 6-1 to improve to 4-0 in their head-to-head record.
Ostapenko, the 20th seed in New York, struck 31 winners en route to her victory, ending Świątek’s 75-week run as world No. 1. Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka is set to take over top spot for the first time after the US Open.
“I think the main thing is she doesn’t really like to play big hitters,” Ostapenko told reporters after her win. “She likes to have some time. When I play fast, aggressive and powerful, she’s a little bit in trouble.
“I always expect a tough battle against Iga, she is such a great player and very consistent … but I just went for it. I know I had to play my game and be aggressive because that is not what she likes.”
After losing the opening set, Ostapenko then went on to dominate the match and hurried to a remarkable 5-0 lead in the deciding third set.
Świątek, who was yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament, managed to avoid one of the bagels that she so often hands out to opponents, but there was ultimately nothing she could do to halt Ostapenko’s power and precision.
“I’m surprised that my level changed so drastically,” Świątek told reporters. “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.”
Coco Gauff marches on in New York
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, will play Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals after the teenager beat the returning Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 3-6 6-1.
Gauff, who had to come back from a break down in the third set, won the biggest title of her career in Cincinnati ahead of the US Open and has continued her fine form in New York.
The sixth seed and one of the favorites to lift the title in an open field, Gauff is bidding to reach a second grand slam final and her first on home soil.
Her victory ended Wozniacki’s remarkable return to the sport after the Dane retired three and a half years ago to start a family. This was Wozniacki’s first appearance at a grand slam since the 2020 Australian Open after only returning to the tour last month.
Wozniacki’s run at Flushing Meadows, during which she eliminated 11th seed Petra Kvitová, will no doubt fill her with confidence ahead of the new season.
“There’s a lot of positives to take with me going forward. I’m on the right track,” Wozniacki, the 2018 Australian Open champion, said.
“I’m finding my form, I’m finding my feet. I’m excited to take on more events and more players.”
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