“I managed to keep expectations low. Compared to Paris it was physically harder here”

“I managed to keep expectations low. Compared to Paris it was physically harder here”
“I managed to keep expectations low. Compared to Paris it was physically harder here”
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[1] I. Swiatek b. [5] O. Jabeur 6-2 7-6 (5)

There could not have been a better match, at least on paper: number 1 and number 2 (from Monday) on the field as, in women’s tennis, it had not happened for a long too long time. Ons Jabeur and Iga Swiatek represent the best in the WTA field you could want for a final. Imagine a Grand Slam final. To triumph is the number 1 in the world who beat the Tunisian by 6-2, 7-6 (5), in 1 h and 51 minutes of play and that thanks to this victory brings the number of Slams won so far in his career to 3, after the two Roland Garros won in 2020 and 2022. The Polish girl succeeds the amazing Englishwoman Emma Raducanu in the roll of honor which in 2022, however, did not really know how to confirm that result. The doubt that this could be repeated for Iga Swiatek is just not there. Quite another solidity of him.

The match has always seen a substantial dominance of the Polish who, thanks to an almost impeccable serve, and to a solidity built shot after shot from the baseline, took away the rhythm and time from her incapable opponent of those game variations that led her to the final. Only in the second set, despite the initial 3-0 disadvantage, did the Tunisian find the reins of her game, taking the match up to the final tie break, where however Swiatek placed the winning draw in the final. Swiatek has won 7 tournaments this year, as no women have since Serena William. She has also won all the last 10 finals, after losing the very first one. And he did so by yielding only one set in 10 finals. He closes the year with almost 10,000 points, 9,560, with Jabeur second with 4,496. The Tunisian, however, pays for the fact that she has not been able to add up the 1200 points of the Wimbledon final, this year not assigned. But whoever wins between Alcaraz and Ruud will reach less than 7,000 points and this makes us understand how very different Swiatek’s domination was during the year, although it mainly materialized in the first half of the season, when on clay she left the crumbs to the opponents. . The last player to win two Grand Slams in the same year was Angelique Kerber 6 years ago. Naomi Osaka has won 2 US Open but in non-consecutive years. And Serena Williams in 2014 was the last to win the US Open from # 1 in seeding.

For Jabeur it is the first final in New York and it shows. It is in fact a partial of 12 points to 2 in favor of Swiatek to score the first three games of the set that see the Pole aggressive and concentratedbuild well the point from the baseline and then close by entering the field with your feet. The Pole is simply unplayable, the Tunisian is simply in the locker room. In just 10 minutes it is already 3-0. We need a shock, we need a reaction that arrives in the fourth game won by Jabeur despite a double fault, the second, at 40-0 and a forehand error that seemed to be able to put Iga back on track. It is the shock of the match that finally manages to make her take the ball in the game: two long lines, one forehand and one backhand and a crossed forehand give the Tunisian two balls of the counterbreak. It is the second to be the good one with a straight winner, also in the long line, which puts the match tracks back on the service of the players and gives a balanced match to the spectators of Arthur Ashe. At 3-2 it is Jabeur who serves for a draw that seems written, given the inertia of the match. But, as often happens, there are moments in matches in which, especially if you are the number 1 in the world, you have the desire and the strength to change the course of the race: the new break of the Pole testifies to what she is like. to want to keep the reins of the game, going up the level again and giving a cross backhand and a forehand, which put her back in the scoring and management of the match. It is the first real turning point of the match: in this context the 5-2 is the logical consequence of a gap that is represented by the values ​​expressed on the pitch. Values ​​totally unbalanced in favor of Swiatek give the Pole, in constant pressure, a new break, which this time also means a set. A 6-2 that mirrors what was seen on “Arthur Ashe” in the score: Swiatek unplayable for most of the time, except for the two games won by the Tunisian, closes the set with 90% of first balls in the field, 63% of points with the first service and with 54% of points in return. If you were wondering why, these numbers remove any doubt.

It does not change the score at the beginning of the second set. The Pole immediately runs away and starts well in the service, confirming the numbers of the first set and scratching the residual resistance of her opponent by converting the second of two break points by playing a backhand passer-by preamble to the net closure. Rapidity, concreteness, clarity of choices on the one hand, confusion mixed with resignation on the other. It is the eyes that speak more than any other part of the body. The 3-0 can only be the logical consequence of a match that doesn’t exist. But after seven consecutive games won by Swiatekwhich looked like they could become eight at 15-40 and two break points, Jabeur decides to shake up, returning to his levels and regaining, thanks to two winners, a game that seemed lost. And as in the first set comes the shock in the fifth game won by the Tunisian who tries, once again to get back into the game thanks to the break of 3-2. What happens next is pure tennis novel: the Pole seems to put the exclamation point back on the set, thanks to an impeccable backhand, a penetrating forehand that finds unexplored corners of the court and a constant pace that takes Jabeur’s breath away, thus conquering a 4-2 which, however, unlike the first set, is not the final shot towards the finish line but only a passage of the race. The Tunisian in fact still manages to find the strength to put the set and the match back on its feet by finding the break that is worth 4-3, which is worth being still in the game. In fact, the even 4 is a done deal. Now it’s another game. A match that sees in the ninth game the moment that could have been the decisive one with Jabeur three times in the possibility of the break that would mean overtaking and serving for the set, but three mistakes make it vanish any overtaking ambitions that Swiatek can instead , good at winning a game that seemed lost. Serving to stay in the match the weight is all on the shoulders of Jabeur who, however, proves that she is no longer the player of a few games before; with a fair amount of confidence she holds the serve which is worth 5-5. In the decisive moment of the game you live off lightning on the pitch and impromptu situations in one way or another, winning and free. The stakes are high and the tie break in these circumstances is the supreme judge able to find a definitive answer to the progress of the set. But first we pass by a Championship point canceled by Jabeur thanks to a first formidable in its effectiveness. You get there with Jabeur confident and Swiatek less sure of his strong points, one above all the management of the balls from the baseline. But the tie break, you know, is a match within a match: 4-2 Swiatek, it seems over. Then at 4-3 in favor of the Polish two serious mistakes of the number 1 in the world, a forehand on the net and a backhand that lands over the line, bring the score to 5-4 for Jabeur. In short, the Tunisian girl is two points from the third set, but at that moment Swiatek pulls a formidable forehand down the line and reaches 5 all and there arrive two consecutive errors by Jabeur, the second on the second Championship point for Iga and this time on her service. In the exchange, Jabeur’s forehand is long, Swiatek can smile letting himself fall to the ground and savoring the taste of a victory that after Paris brings her the third Grand Slam title, the first on concrete.


I want to thank the public, I gave it my all but Iga didn’t make my life easy and he deserved the victory – said Jabeur during the award ceremony – It’s not that I love her so much right now, but it’s her day! It has been a fantastic two weeks, being back in the final after Wimbledon means a lot to me. I will continue to work hard to ensure that, sooner or later, I can win a Grand Slam. It is one of my goals, I always try to be an inspiration even in front of so many champions. I want to thank my team and the president of the federation so much. We want more kids to come and play this tournament. I believe and hope that this is the beginning of many good things.

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I honestly didn’t expect much coming to this tournament – the new champion Swiatek made her debut – It wasn’t easy after winning Roland Garros, it was a very difficult tournament. It is a crazy place, there is so much noise and there are so many temptations in the city. However, I am proud of myself for being able to manage all emotions in the best possible way. I also want to congratulate Ons, you are having a wonderful season. We have a great rivalry, there will be many other challenges between us and I’m sure you will win a lot. Congratulations to you and your team, everything you do is extraordinary. I think I have to go home to understand what it means to experience so many emotions and, in a certain way, to write the history of Polish tennis. Thanks again to this stage. Especially at this moment we have to stay united, I am happy to be able to perhaps unite someone thanks to this sport. I know that in Poland tennis continues to grow more and more, we do our best to be an example. As for my team… WOW! You know how difficult it has been and I am sorry that, at times, I am not easy to manage. You are smarter than me, I am often stubborn and without you I would not be so prepared.

A well-deserved victory, a success that certifies the completeness of a player who has returned to the one of last spring, the one capable of winning Indian Wells and Miami always on concrete and always on American soil. Soil of her who gave her an even more important success, perhaps the one that definitively clears her of customs in the role of dominatrix.

The article is in Italian

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