Ostapenko ends No.1 Swidek’s US Open title defense; Faces Gauff

NEW YORK — No. 20 Jelena Ostapenko continued her run of form against Ika Svidek with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 fourth-round victory to clinch the world No. 1’s US Open title. The 26-year-old Latvian is now 4-0 in his career against Svidek.

With this win, world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka will leapfrog Svidek into the top spot after the US Open. Swiatek has held the top spot for 75 consecutive weeks, the third-longest streak in Hologic WTA Tour history.

In her first US Open quarterfinal, the 2017 French Open champion will next face sixth seed Coco Goff. The pair split their previous two meetings with Ostapenko knocking out the American at the Australian Open in January.

Match Notes: Svitek went into Sunday night having won just one set in three meetings against the big-hitting Latvian. Ostapenko’s game, based on a bold attack that can run hot and cold, has historically won the pole. But this will be their first meeting since last year’s Switech rise to No.1.

Before the tournament, Switek was confident that his evolution, especially on hard courts, could flip the script.

„With Jelena, it’s like one day, she can play a perfect match and she can really put everything in even if it’s at risk, and the other day can be different,” Svidek said ahead of the match. “You never know what to expect.

„But I accept that all these players are going to play great tennis against me.”

How to win the competition: The match began with an exchange of breaks before they settled into the much-anticipated basic tug-of-war. With Ostapenko serving down 3-2, 30-all, Sviatek pushed her off the baseline, eliciting oohs and aahs from the crowd, earning her a break point opportunity. Ostapenko broke it off, but Swiatek made the second chance better, hitting a flat cross-court passing shot for a 4-2 lead.

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Svidek watched helplessly as Ostapenko hit winners of the 11th and 12th for a 15-30 lead to wrap up the set 5-3. But one missed return and a fortuitous netcard winner later and Svidek had a set point. He converted another missed return to close out the 39-minute opener — Ostapenko landed just 57 percent.

Turning point: Ostapenko responded immediately, saving two game points and breaking Svidek in her opening service game to consolidate for a quick 3-0 lead. Svitek got on the board after Ostapenko swatted her first drop shot attempt into the net, but Ostapenko settled into a comfortable rhythm in her service games and now doubled up on Svitek in the winners row.

As she sat with a 4-1 lead, Ostapenko fired 10 winners in a set against Svitek. More importantly, he limited his errors, hitting five of Svidek’s threes.

To take the match to the third set, Ostapenko fended off a break point with a well-kicked second serve that opened wide. Thus, the game came to an end after 80 minutes of intense action.

„I always expect a tough fight against Iga,” Ostapenko told the court. „She’s won a lot of Slams and she’s very consistent. I went on the court and I had to play aggressively, and that’s what she didn’t like. In the third set, I stepped on the court more and I served better.”

Now finding the perfect balance of disciplined offense, Ostapenko broke Svitek in the opener to take a 2-0 lead. Svidek’s forehand started leaking more errors and the Latvian could sense the occasion. Only Anastasia Potapova has played more three-set matches than Ostapenko this season, posting a 15-8 record in the tournament.

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Ostapenko breaks again for a double break lead of 3-0. It was a lead he easily defended as he wrapped up the victory after 1 hour 48 minutes.

Ostapenko finished the match with 31 winners and 20 unforced errors. Swiatek hit 18 winners and 18 unforced errors. Ostapenko beat Svitek seven times to earn her second win at No.1.

Match Stats: Ostapenko’s win snapped Svitek’s 33-match winning streak when she won the first set at a Slam.

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