Iga Swiatek wins first US Open title after straight sets victory over Ons Jabeur

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates with the US Open trophy after defeating Ons Jabeur  - GETTY
Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates with the US Open trophy after defeating Ons Jabeur - GETTY

The world No 1 lived up to her billing as Iga Swiatek – playing her first major final outside Paris – overcame Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in straight sets.

A mild-mannered 20-year-old from the suburbs of Warsaw, Swiatek resembles a sociology undergraduate who prefers a late night in the library to propping up the bar. And yet, when she reaches a final, she becomes utterly ruthless, a cold-blooded killer.

The statistics show that Swiatek has now reached 18 finals at all levels of the professional game, starting with a humble $10,000 tournament in Stockholm when she didn’t even have a world ranking.

She has now won 17 of those finals, dropping only a single set in the process. Polona Hercog – the otherwise obscure Slovenian – should take a bow here, as her clay-court success in Lugano three years ago remains the only exception to Swiatek’s rule.

It seems strange to think back to the equivalent occasion last year – the 2021 US Open final – which featured a pair of utterly unexpected combatants in Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu. This time, we were watching the two outstanding players on the tour this season.

Swiatek had won 54 matches in 2022, including an astonishing six titles. Jabeur, despite a seeding of only No 5, had won 44, and would have been seeded higher but for the ridiculous non-inclusion of Wimbledon results in the rankings system this year.

Yet only one of these women has shown an uncanny ability to find the zone every time she plays a trophy match. As Swiatek whaled away with utter conviction, Jabeur was reduced to holding out her palms to her player box in disbelief, or bouncing her racket on the hard surface in frustration. She is known for her jolliness off the court, earning the nickname of “Minister of Happiness” in some quarters. Here, though, she looked to be grinding her teeth together.

Iga Swiatek falls to the floor after beating Ons Jabeur in the US Open final - AFP
Iga Swiatek falls to the floor after beating Ons Jabeur in the US Open final - AFP

Swiatek had come into the US Open in her worst form of the season, having made early exits in Cincinnati and Toronto, but her coach Tomasz Witkorowski told ESPN that they had done plenty of solo training with a basket to overcome her dislike of the light Wilson balls.

In her acceptance speech, Swiatek said “I was not expecting a lot, especially before this tournament. It was really challenging – it is New York, so loud and crazy, so many temptations in the city, so many people I’ve met who inspire me. It is really mind-blowing for me and I am so proud I could handle it mentally. It is such an amazing tournament and an amazing season.”

Jabeur said: “I really tried but Iga didn’t make it easy for me today. She deserved to win. I don’t like her very much right now but it is OK! I will keep working hard and get that title soon.”

The first three games found Swiatek on soul-crushingly good form, striking every shot with palpable purpose. Jabeur tried to resist, mixing up her spins ingeniously, but found herself worked remorselessly to the fringes. When Swiatek had the opening, she would step in and finish the rally off with her trademark: the inside-out forehand winner.

The pugnacious Jabeur did manage to land a couple of punches of her own. She delivered consecutive clean winners up the flanks in Swiatek’s next service game, then two more super-strikes that levelled up the break. After two sit-downs, both women had five winners to their name and the spectators were feeling more comfortable about their investment. But that confidence was misplaced, because Swiatek merely took this momentary setback as the cue to launch another big push. This time, she reeled off six straight games, moving to 6-2, 3-0 up, before Jabeur managed to notch another game on the scoreboard.

Swiatek was so fast onto the ball, a blur of whirling legs and flying turquoise pleats. In this form, she doesn’t just want to hit the line; she wants to catch the outside of it, to give her opponent even less opportunity.

It didn’t help that Jabeur couldn’t make a first serve. Perhaps this was one reason why she was spotted out on the practice courts less than ten minutes before the scheduled start of play. She was looking for some rhythm in this, the weakest part of her game, where she is disadvantaged by standing just 5ft 6in tall.

During the first set, Jabeur made only 48 per cent of her first serves – and what a contrast on the far side of the net, as Swiatek landed her own first delivery an extraordinary 90 per cent of the time. Or, in other words, 19 hits from 21 attempts.

us open final live iga swiatek vs ons jabeur 2022 latest   - SHUTTERSTOCK
us open final live iga swiatek vs ons jabeur 2022 latest - SHUTTERSTOCK

After a first set that didn’t feature a single deuce, almost every game in the second turned into an arm-wrestle, with breaks as common as holds. Jabeur could have broken for 5-4 and had three points to do so. But she missed straightforward shots on each occasion: a forehand approach, followed by a slice into the net and finally a double-hander pushed long.

In the end, Swiatek needed a tie-break, which she snuck through for a 6-2, 7-6 victory in 1hr 51min. Jabeur has now made two straight major finals. But after Elena Rybakina’s ferocious power burned her at Wimbledon, she must be wondering what she needs to do to lift her first grand-slam trophy.

Iga Swiatek vs Ons Jabeur: as it happened

11:29 PM

Here's the champ...

I'm was not expecting a lot. I had really challenging time before this tournament. I just had to stay to focused, it's New York, it's so loud and crazy but I just had to stay in it.

Congratulations to Ons. I'm sure we're going to have many more battles in the future and she's certainly going to win some of those.

I'm sorry to my team for giving them such a hard time some times but they know how guide me and I just want to thank them for everything.

11:24 PM

Words from Ons Jabeur...

Tears in her eyes as she speaks.

I want to thanks the crowd. I really tired but Iga didn't make it easy for me. I don't like her very much right now but it's ok. (she's very much joking)

It really means a lot. Getting a major is the next goal and hopefully I can inspire more generations back home now.

11:21 PM

Finals specialist

Iga Swiatek is the just the second women in the Open era to win all three of her first three grand slam finals in straight sets after Lindsay Davenport.

11:19 PM

Great scenes

The two players are stood arm-in-arm as the presentation begin.

Great friends off the court. Fierce rivals on it.

11:16 PM

The winning moment

Iga Swiatek is the US Open champion.

us open final live iga swiatek vs ons jabeur 2022 latest   - AFP
us open final live iga swiatek vs ons jabeur 2022 latest - AFP

11:10 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 7-6 Ons Jabeur

What a start from Jabeur to begin the tie break. A huge backhand down the line and she has the mini break.

Swiatek gets right back on serve though before a bad Jabeur error gives the initiative right back to the Pole.

A slice of fortune for Jabeur though after a net cord disrupts Swiatek's flow. Big serve from the Pole next though and we're at 3-2.

It's 4-2 to Swiatek now after a Jabeur miss causes her to kick the ball away in frustration.

Back to 4-4 after a tight Swiatek forehand finds the net! The momentum is with Jabeur here if she can take advantage.

Swiatek misses....5-4 Jabeur and she's two points from taking us to a deciding set.

What a forehand from Swiatek now! Right on the line and it's 5-5.

And just like that Swiatek has another championship point after a poor miss from Jabeur on the forehand!

GAME SET AND MATCH. Jabeur goes long on a forehand.

Take a bow Iga Swiatek.

11:01 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 6-6 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)     

Jabeur challenges a line call on the first point but it was just out before Swiatek races to 0-30 after a superb return leaves the Tunisian scrambling.

But Swiatek nets....possibly a little tight there with a third grand slam title just two points away.

Possibly? Certainly. Swiatek is long with a forehand and we're back to 30-30.

But Jabeur misses and Iga Swiatek has championship point.....saved by Jabeur!

And then a big serve gets us to within a point of tie break.

Jabeur holds.....second set tie break here we come.

10:55 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-5 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)     

Swiatek gets to 40-15 after an extraordinary rally sees Jabeur find the net with a forehand.

Jabeur's drop shot game is warming up though and Swiatek misses as she races to get to one.

No mistake form the Pole on the next point though. She holds and Jabeur will serve to stay in this final for the second time.

10:50 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 5-5 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)   

Swiatek gets Jabeur to net on the opening point but then goes long with a forehand and we're at 15-15.

Hmmmm that's very long from Jabeur though and Swiatek has 15-30.

But that's excellent hitting from Jabeur, who wins two points in gritty style to get to game point.

Swiatek nets! Great hold from Jabeur.

10:46 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 5-4 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)   

Jabeur wins the first point thanks to excellent defence but she misses on the next return.

Jabeur then plays a superb point. A beautiful drop volley brings Swiatek forward before the Tunisian puts the next volley away.

Pressure very much on the Pole here at 15-30. And she misses!

Two break points for Jabeur. She has the first one in her grasp but goes long with the point at her mercy.

Jabeur then misses on the next break point as well before a Swiatek serve bring about another error.

Game point Swiatek.....double fault!

Break point Jabeur now after she gets the better of great rally from the back of the court but it's then saved by Swiatek!

Game point now to Swaitek after Jabeur misses a backhand.

WHAT. A. HOLD. That could be a seismic moment in this match.

10:35 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 4-4 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server) 

Jabeur is finding something here. Or is it Swiatek's ludicrous level just dropping slightly?

But then an error at 30-15 lets Swiatek back into the game.

Good from Jabeur there though. Back-to-back points and she holds.

Four games all. This set is anyone's now.

10:32 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 4-3 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server) 

Ons Jabeur has been noticeably less slices in this match so far than in the rest of the tournament. It's curious as that's very much her signature shot.

Doesn't seem to matter in this game though and it's two more break points for the Tunisian on the back of a superb forehand winner.

First one saved by Swiatek. Second one saved by Swiatek. Has the chance for Jabeur gone?

No! There's another break chance for Jabeur. Which she takes!

And just like that we're back on serve.

10:26 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 4-2 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur gets to 30-15 after a well-constructed point brings the error from Swiatek.

No errors there though. Two breathtaking backhand winners bring up a break point for the Pole but Jabeur survives as Swiatek goes long.

But another heavy winner brings up break point again. No mistake this time.

Really impressive game from Swiatek after the Jabeur rally.

10:20 PM

Crowd issues

The atmosphere at Flushing Meadows is rightfully recognised as one of the best in the world but the shouting and whistling mid-point is pretty average behaviour.

Swiatek is clearly frustrated about it as it seems to be happening more on her shots that Jabeur's.

10:19 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 3-2 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek complained about the crowd putting her off mid-point in the last game and Jabeur has won all but one point since. A mini rally from the Tunisian?

She gets to 15-30 on the Swiatek serve. And now its 15-40 after Swiatek nets - big moment for Jabeur here.

She breaks! Game on.

10:16 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 3-1 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur needs this game otherwise this will surely be over.

The Tunisian is on the back foot again though at 15-30 before a double fault gives Swiatek another two break points.

She saves the first as Swiatek nets AND THEN OTHER thanks to a forehand winner.

But that's another error from Jabeur, who nets an unconvincing forehand into the net.

Great from the Tunisian now though who wins two quick points to set up game point of her own though.

A hold. A vital hold.

10:09 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 3-0 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

A chance for Jabeur, who gets to 15-30 after a pair of Swiatek errors. Can she take advantage?

Swiatek gets back to 30-30 through on another drop shot error from Jabeur - that shot is a big weapon for her normally but it's really not working for her tonight.

And Just wow from Iga Swiatek. Jabeur has her on the rack but superb defence keeps the Pole alive and she takes the game with an another outrageous backhand winner.

10:04 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 2-0 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)

The frustrations for Jabeur continue as she follows up an excellent opening point with a double fault.

Swiatek then latches onto a slow second serve which asks too much of Jabeur.

Ahhhh and that's bad shot selection from the Tunisian, who nets a drop shot that really wasn't there to hit.

Jabeur saves the break point though and gets to game point with a nice one-two punch off a wide kick serve.

Swiatek then gets us back to deuce. You really feel Jabeur needs to win this game.

But she can't! It's simply too good from Swiatek and she breaks at the start of this second set.

09:57 PM

Iga Swiatek 6-2 1-0 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

After a good body serve, Swiatek goes long with a forehand but Jabeur can't take advantage, missing a forehand of her own and Swaitek's gets to 40-30.

Jabeur takes us to deuce but Swiatek's next two winners are simply imperious and the Pole takes the game. This is a big-game player, showing up big in the biggest of games.

09:49 PM

Iga Swiatek* 6-2 0-0 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server) 

Jabeur puts herself on the backfoot with two unforced errors to start the game but responds well to put a smash away after missing one on the previous point.

Ah but that's poor from Jabeur, who nets an easy forehand, bringing up two set points for Swiatek.

The the Tunisian nets again! And that's the first set to the superb Iga Swiatek in just over 30 minutes.

09:44 PM

Iga Swiatek 5-2 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

A wide slice serve is too tough for Jabeur to return and Swiatek gets to 30-15 with the minimum of fuss.

Then more powerful hitting proves too much for Jabeur to handle and the Pole has two game points.

She needs just one. Jabeur will serve to stay in the first set.

09:41 PM

Iga Swiatek* 4-2 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Swiatek is looking to counter-attack the counter-attack here. She's upped her aggression to start this game and gets to 15-30 with a simply outrageous backhand winner.

Suddenly the Pole has two break points of her own. She loses one as a forehand lands just wide but makes no mistake with the second.

The quality from players of the last two games has been absurd.

09:36 PM

Iga Swiatek 3-2 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server) 

The game starts very well.

First, it's Swiatek producing a superb backhand half-volley which steals the point from Jabeur.

But the Tunisian responds with three straight winners and suddenly has two break-back points.

Swiatek saves the first after a Jabeur unforced error but can't do anything about the next one.

Jabeur rocks back on a forehand a lashes yet another winner down the line - her fourth of the game.

Game very much on here.

09:32 PM

Iga Swiatek* 3-1 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server) 

Better from Jabeur, who races to a 40-0 lead before two Swiatek points put the pressure back on.

But the Pole goes wide with a forehand and Jabeur is on the board

09:28 PM

Iga Swiatek 3-0 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server) 

Powerful work from Swiatek as she pulverises Jabeur with heavy groundstrokes. These are ominous signs for the Tunisian, Swiatek looks really in the mood.

It's another comfortable hold to 15 for Swiatek. Jabeur needs to find her rhythm or this first set could be over very quickly

09:24 PM

Iga Swiatek* 2-0 Ons Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur looks tight in her opening service game and Swiatek gets to 0-40.

Oh and it's an early break for Swiatek. She's a real front runner is the World No 1. This is exactly the start she will have been looking for.

09:21 PM

First Set: Iga Swiatek 1-0 Ons Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek will be happy to see her opening three first serves find the mark and races to a 40-0.

The Pole then holds to 15 after finishing an excellent rally with a whipped backhand crosscourt.

09:17 PM

Good for women's tennis

These two players will be ranked No 1 and No 2 in the world come the end of the tournament.

It feels like a real positive for the women's game to have the two best players in the world going head-to-head in the final grand slam of the season.

09:13 PM

Early win for Swiatek

The Pole wins the toss and will serve first.

The warm-up is underway.

09:10 PM

Here they come

Huge cheers on Arthur Ashe as the players appear on court.

09:07 PM

Select group

Ons Jabeur is one of only six women to have made their first two appearances in grand slam finals in consecutive tournaments.

The others are Naomi Osaka, Li Na, Vera Zvonareva, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis.

Fair to say that's decent company for the Tunisian.

08:38 PM

Honours even

That said, you can't split these two on their head-to-head record.

Swiatek won the first meeting between the pair, in Washington in 2019, before Jabeur reeled off two straight successes.

The first came in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021, with victory for the Tunisian at the Cincinnati Masters coming just a few weeks later.

Swiatek's aforementioned win in the Italian Open drew the pair back level on two win apiece.

08:33 PM

Great when it matters

Despite her up-and-down form throughout the tournament, Swiatek has a fearsome record in finals of late.

She has won her last nine, but not just won them, she's won them in straight sets - including a defeat of Jabeur in the Italian Open final in May.

08:31 PM

....and from Ons Jabeur

"At Wimbledon I was kind of just living the dream, and I couldn't believe it,"

"Even just after the match, I was just going to do my things and not realising it was an amazing achievement already.

"But now [I'm] just happy that I backed up the results in Wimbledon and people are not really surprised I'm in the finals, but just going and going and just doing my thing."

08:30 PM

Pre-match thoughts from Iga Swiatek

"She has a different game style than most of the players. She has a great touch and she's just a tough opponent.

"She fully deserves to be in the final. I think it's going to be a great battle."

08:05 PM

Good evening from Flushing Meadows

Welcome to what should be a packed-out Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York for an exciting conclusion to the women’s singles at the US Open.

This time 12 months ago we were preparing ourselves for Emma Raducanu’s final against Canadian Leylah Fernandez, but fast-forward to now and the spotlight is firmly traced on world number one Iga Swiatek and her opponent, Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

It felt as if the third-round departure of the now-retired Serena Williams took the air of the women’s draw slightly, such had been the hype around a player many consider to be the greatest of all time playing in her final tournament.

But if you took your eye off the women’s draw after Serena’s loss you will have missed some sublime tennis from this year’s two finalists, with Swiatek in particular showing moments of genius even in a tournament where her form has hit both peaks and troughs.

This was in full evidence in her semi-final, where a sloppy start saw the Polish top seed drop the first set to Aryna Sabalenka before she roared back to win the next two in decisive fashion and take the match 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Swiatek has had something of the Jekyll and Hyde about her over the last two weeks. At moments we have seen the kind of form that saw her win 37-straight matches earlier this season, including taking her second French Open title at Roland Garros.

At others, we have been left wondering where that player had gone. She has been able to keep head above water though and has a favourite’s chance going into her third grand slam final.

However, in Ons Jabeur, Swiatek faces an opponent well equipped to take full advantage of any lapses in focus or form. The Tunisian has dropped just one set on route to the final and was truly dominant in her semi-final, dropping just four games against French 17th seed Caroline Garcia.

A beaten finalist at Wimbledon earlier this season, the 28-year-old is bidding to become the first Arab/African woman to win a grand slam. What a storybook ending that would be for the final grand slam of the season.