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Defending champion Iga Swiatek bows out of US Open in Round 4

THE NEW YORK Iga Swiatek's US Open championship defense came to an end in the fourth round on Sunday night as she was defeated by Jelena Ostapenko 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Swiatek's reign as No. 1 in the WTA rankings will come to an end as a result of the defeat, and current No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will take over as leader for the first time the following week.

Swiatek admitted, "I don't know why I performed that poorly. "I'm not satisfied with my hard court performances this year. I did, however, do a pretty decent job of keeping my level overall. I am glad that I will have time to practice because I miss doing that.

The 20th-seeded Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open, unleashed some strong shots in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Swiatek struggled to handle them. Ostapenko was the 2017 French Open champion.

Following his 31 wins against Swiatek's 18, Ostapenko said, "I knew I had to play my game. I was aware that I had to be aggressive because she doesn't really enjoy that.

Based on their prior encounters, this was not entirely unexpected: Ostapenko now has a career record of 4-0 against Swiatek. No other athlete had four wins over the female leader of the WTA rankings since April 2022.

Ostapenko stated, "I was just thinking that I have to play all the way through, till we shook hands. "I really didn't give her a lot of chances,"

Ostapenko faltered briefly in the second set after getting off to a great start and taking a 4-1 lead. Swiatek was able to recover the break and get within 4-3 thanks to that. But that was just a little hiccup.

The biggest issue, according to Ostapenko, is that she dislikes playing heavy hitters. She enjoys taking her time. She gets into a little bit of trouble when I play quickly, violently, and powerfully.

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The match immediately leaned in one direction as Swiatek struggled to serve, maybe as a result of all the squeaking Ostapenko's shoes made while she moved around during the ball throw while waiting to return. Ostapenko won seven straight points to take a 5-0 lead in the third set.

Ostapenko broke for the last time to win the match, taking seven of Swiatek's 13 service games.

At Flushing Meadows, Ostapenko will face American teenager Coco Gauff in the first round. Gauff defeated Caroline Wozniacki earlier in the day by scores of 6-3, 3-6, and 6-1.

Gauff and Ostapenko have split their prior two encounters. Ostapenko triumphed in the most recent match, which took place in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

Gauff was described by Ostapenko as "a fantastic young player." Naturally, it will be another challenging game. At a Grand Slam, I don't anticipate any easy matches.

Swiatek lost less than a week after she defeated Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, an unseeded player, 6-0, 6-1, to win the tournament opener. But she did admit that after losing in the semifinals in Montreal and Cincinnati in August, she felt her tank was "pretty empty" following that victory.

When asked to sum up her season, Swiatek remarked, "I feel like I'm improving as a player, but I have more skills. This season was challenging and demanding.


Daniel Jack

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.