Iga Swiatek confirmed her pre-eminence in the women’s game with a straight-sets triumph over Ons Jabeur to win her second Grand Slam title of the year at the US Open.
The world number one, who won the French Open for the second time earlier this year, made a blistering start before weathering the storm in the second set to beat the Tunisian 6-2 7-6 (7-4) on Saturday night.
Swiatek took little time in cementing her place as the dominant force in the women’s game following the retirement of Ashleigh Barty, embarking on a 37-match unbeaten run earlier this year, which included victory at Roland Garros.
That purple patch came to an end at Wimbledon and there certainly had been question marks against her on the faster surfaces in the game, but she has seemingly put those to bed after her victory run at Flushing Meadows,
If nothing else, her third Grand Slam triumph has instilled an inner belief in her own abilities and the 21-year-old is now looking to improve even further.
“I wasn’t sure if I was at the level yet to win a Grand Slam, especially at the US Open where the surface is so fast,” said Swiatek.
“It’s also like a confirmation for me that [the] sky is the limit.”
For Jabeur, Saturday’s result was her second successive defeat in a Grand Slam final following her 6-3 2-6 2-6 reverse against Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, but her run to the final will see her return to the world number two ranking.
The 28-year-old will not let up in her bid to win both a Grand Slam title and achieve number one status but concedes Swiatek is setting a high standard.
“She’s really set the bar very high. It’s great for our sport,” said Jabeur. “I will keep doing my thing and hopefully will catch her.
“I’m definitely going for the number one spot.”
Sunday night of course sees the men take centre stage and, unlike in the women’s game where there is a clear leader, whoever comes out on top will also rise to the top of the rankings as they each chase their first Grand Slam success.
Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud have met twice before with the Spanish teenager having won both meetings, including in the Miami final earlier this year, although the Norwegian does at least have previous Slam final experience, having finished as runner-up at this year’s French Open (Ruud 7/4, Alcaraz 4/9 – Match Betting).
Should he win the US Open, the 19-year-old Alcaraz would be the youngest player ever to top the ATP Tour rankings, while Ruud would be the first Norwegian to do so.