On paper, Swiatek loses in the final on Saturday.
Known as a clay-court specialist – her two Grand Slam titles came at the French Open – the Pole expertly adapted her game to the hard courts in 2022, winning four WTA 1000 events on the surface and becoming just the fourth woman in of the story to complete the “Sunshine Double” by winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back.
Those titles, as well as her second French Open crown, came during her remarkable 37 unbeaten games earlier in the season, which finally ended in the third round at Wimbledon.
However, Swiatek certainly struggled to regain that form in the second half of the season and their participation in the US Open final was by no means a formality ahead of the tournament’s start.
She also struggled through her semifinals, fighting back after one set and being down 4-2 in the deciding set against sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in a match that lasted more than two hours.
Swiatek, the first Pole to appear in a US Open singles final, said Saturday’s match will be “a great fight” against Jabeur, a player who wants to make her own story.
The 21-year-old, who would become the dominant force in women’s tennis this season following Ash Barty’s early retirement, has shown incredible grip in tournament finals.
Of the 10 finals she has reached in her career, Swiatek has won nine and not lost a single one since her first final in 2019.
Jabeur realized this after her quick semi-final win over Caroline Garcia. “Iga never loses the final,” she said. “So it’s going to be very tough.”
“Go for Everything”
But Jabeur, who is set to return to her career-high as world No. 2 after the US Open, undoubtedly has the tools to end Swiatek’s run with one of the most varied games on the tour.
The Tunisian becomes the first African to compete in a US Open final and is looking to win her first Grand Slam at the second attempt.
She only reached the Wimbledon final two months ago but was surprisingly beaten in three sets by Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan. Despite the defeat, she spoke of the self-confidence that the run gave her. At least that’s what it looked like in a nerve-wracking semi-final.
Jabeur swept aside the dangerous 13-game unbeaten Garcia, winning 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour to cement her spot in Saturday’s final.
The career neck-and-neck between these two players stands at 2-2, with Swiatek winning their last meeting in the Italian Open final on clay in May, although the last time they faced each other on hard court, Jabeur came out on top in court in 2021.
“It feels more real to be back in the final,” Jabeur said after her semi-final victory. “At Wimbledon I was kind of just living the dream and I couldn’t believe it. Even after the match, I just wanted to do my stuff and not realize that it was already an amazing achievement.
“But now I’m hoping to get used to it. I’m just happy I secured the results at Wimbledon and people aren’t really surprised that I’m in the final. I feel very positive about this one. The most important thing is not to regret it because I will give everything for it.
“Even if this one won’t happen, I’m very sure that another one will come. I just go there [Wimbledon] The final was really tough for me, especially the second set. But then I feel like in this final, I go all in, I go all.”