ONE-TIME Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko has sensationally defeated now former number one Iga Swiatek with an incredible come-from-behind victory in the fourth round of the US Open. The 20th seed at Flushing Meadows went down a set but only dropped four games in the last two sets to win, 3-6 6-3 6-1 to extend her head-to-head with the Pole to a 4-0 advantage.
“There were some key moments in the second set. When I won it, especially the first game in the third set when I broke her, I felt like it’s going more my way,” Ostapenko said post-match. “I started to feel my game better. I put her under pressure, of course, because I was hitting quite many winners, and she didn’t like the power I was giving her because she needed some time to play.”
The second set was completely different to the first, as Ostapenko powered her way to a 4-1 lead off the back of sheer strength and huge groundstrokes. It allowed her to race to a 4-1 lead in the set, and while Swiatek was able to stem the momentum from there could not get the momentum swinging her way. That was the case for the rest of the match as Ospenko cruised to victory in the final set.
In a match that lasted one hour and 48 minutes, Ostapenko hit 31 winners to Swiatek’s 18, while only conceding the 20 unforced errors. She won 73 per cent of her first serves – including seven aces – off a 65 per cent clip, as the Pole struggled to contain her when she got going. By comparison, Swiatek only won 56 per cent of her first serves off a 62 per cent first serve rate.
“The main thing, I was trying to go for the shots,” Ostapenko said.. “Maybe today in the second and third set I was a little bit more consistent and didn’t go for, like, crazy shots. I was going for shots when I had a chance.”
Ostapenko has one Grand Slam in the bank, winning the 2017 Roland Garros, and backs up her quarter finals appearance at Melbourne Park with another hardcourt final eight spot. She takes on sixth seed Coco Gauff who will provide similar power to the Latvian in what is anticipated to be a ripping contest.
For Swiatek, the loss marked the end of a 75-week reign at the world number one spot – taking over from Australian Ash Barty when Barty retired – with Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka taking over the top ranking spot.