On paper, Sviatek lost Saturday’s final.
Renowned as a clay specialist — two Grand Slam titles have come at the French Open — the Pole will adapt her game to hard courts in 2022, becoming just the fourth woman in history to win four WTA 1000 events on the surface. To complete the “Sunshine Double” by winning Indian Wells and Miami.
Those titles, as well as her second French Open crown, came during a 37-match unbeaten run earlier in the season, which finally ended in the third round at Wimbledon.
However, Svidek certainly struggled to recapture that form in the second half of the season, and his involvement in the US Open final was by no means formal before the start of the tournament.
She also struggled in her semi-final, battling back from a set down to lose 4-2 against sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka in just over two hours.
Swiadek, the first Polish woman to appear in a US Open singles final, said Saturday’s match against Jabir, a player looking to make some history of her own, would be “a great battle”.
The 21-year-old, who could become a dominant force in women’s tennis after an early retirement from the Ashes this season, has proved incredibly clutch in the finals of the tournament.
Of the 10 finals he has reached in his career, Svitek has won nine and is unbeaten in one since his first final in 2019.
Jaber recognized that following her quick semi-final win over Caroline Garcia. “Iga will never lose a final,” he said. “So it’s going to be very difficult.”
‘Going for everything’
But Zabiur, who will return to a career-high ranking of world No. 2 after the US Open, undoubtedly has the tools to end Swidek’s run in one of the most varied sports on tour.
The Tunisian will become the first African woman to reach a US Open final and win her first Grand Slam title at the second attempt.
She reached the Wimbledon final just two months ago, but lost in three sets to Kazakhstan’s Elina Rybakina. Despite the loss, he spoke of the confidence the run gave him. It certainly was in a nerve-wracking semi-final.
He sealed his place in Saturday’s final with a 6-1 6-3 victory over the dangerous Garcia, who was unbeaten in 13 matches, in just over an hour.
The two players are 2-2 in their career head-to-head, with Sviatek winning their last meeting in the final of the clay-court Italian Open in May, although Jaber came out on top the last time they faced off. Court again in 2021.
“It feels so surreal to be in the final again,” Jaber said after his semi-final win. “I was living the dream at Wimbledon and I couldn’t believe it. Even after the tournament, I was going to do my thing and not realize that it was already an amazing achievement.
“But now I hope I’m getting used to it. I’m happy that I supported the results at Wimbledon and people are not surprised that I reached the final. I feel very positive about it. The most important thing is not to get upset because I’m going to give it my all.”
“Even if this doesn’t happen, I am very sure that someone else will come. That’s what I’m going for [Wimbledon] The final was very difficult for me, especially the second set. But it feels like this is final, and I’m coming full circle and going all out.”
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