So much for that Coco Gauff-Iga Swiatek showdown.
The No. 1 player in the world couldn’t hold up her end of the bargain. She, in fact, couldn’t come close.
After taking the first set, Swiatek was steamrolled by Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, bowing out in the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Sunday night and losing her world No. 1 ranking to Victoria Azarenka in the process.
“I knew she’s a great player and she’s very, very consistent, especially [the] last few years. I also knew she would have all the pressure because she’s obviously No. 1,” Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, said after she improved to 4-0 in her career against Swiatek. “I think if she lost against me today she loses the No. 1 spot. I was just trying to make it hard for her and to play my game and to fight until the very last point.”
Instead of a quarterfinal showdown against last year’s Open champion, the sixth-seeded Gauff will meet No. 20 Ostapenko, who had never advanced past the third round in Flushing until Sunday.
Gauff is now the highest seed in her half of the draw.
At one point, Ostapenko won 11 of 14 games, absolutely dominating Swiatek.
She won 25 of 36 points in a brisk third set and broke Swiatek seven times in the one 1-hour, 48-minute match.
The No. 1 seed had cruised in her first three matches, dropping a grand total of nine games.
But her luck changed in the final match of the day at Ashe.
And so did her hopes of repeating as the U.S. Open champion.
“I’m just surprised my level changed so drastically. I don’t know what happened with my game,” Swiatek said. “I had no control suddenly. I don’t know why I started making so many mistakes.”
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