Defending women’s singles champion Iga Swiatek was absolutely stunned by former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko as the world No. 1 suffered a 6-3, 3-6, 1-6 loss in the round of 16 match of the 2023 US Open at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. 2023 marks the eighth consecutive year in the WTA field where the defending champion has failed to reach the final, let alone retain the trophy, with the legendary Serena Williams being the last player during her three-straight trophy hauls between 20012 and 2014.
If there was anyone who possesed the ability to end Swiatek’s reign in New York, it had to be the Latvian, who in the early hours of Monday, continued her mastery over the Pole by securing a fourth consecutive career win against her.
Heading into the match, Swiatek had won just one set off the 2017 French Open winner, but all their previous three meetings came prior to the 22-year-old’s rise to the world No. 1 spot last year. Hence an improved Swiatek banked on her evolution on hardcourts to flip the script on Arthur Ashe. And probably it was the enthusiasm that saw her gain the opening set off Ostapenko in the pre-quarters clash which was basically a much-anticipated baseline tug-o-war. After a quick exchange of breaks in the first set, Swiatek outclassed Ostpenko from the baseline to gain another breakpoint chance which she converted with a flat cross-court passing shot for a 4-2 lead. The 26-year-old threatened to bounce back when Swiatek was serving out the set at 5-3 with back-to-back winners. But a couple of missed returns, saw Swiatek take the lead with a 6-3 win in the first set.
Just when Swiatek sniffed the opportunity to script her first win against Ostapenko and keep her US Open dream alive, Ostpenko bursted the bubble.
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