World number one Iga Swiatek fought past Aryna Sabalenka to set up a US Open final against Ons Jabeur on Saturday.
Swiatek was 4-2 behind the powerful Belarusian Sabalenka in the deciding set at Arthur Ashe Stadium, but fought back impressively, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and reaching her third Grand Slam final.
The 21-year-old and Jabeur, along with the now-retired Ashleigh Barty, have been the most consistent players in form over the past two years and Saturday’s clash will bring either a first major title for Jabeur or a first away from the French Open for Swiatek.
The Pole dropped her racquet as Sabalenka hit a final backhand and Swiatek said: “I just think against Aryna you have to have the energy to push her back and be able to return those quick balls.
“I missed that a bit in the first set. I had to get it together and I’m pretty glad I did. Even though I lost the first game (of the third set), I just had hope. I feel like I just played a different level so that’s great. I am really happy.”
The defeat was tough for Sabalenka, who has now played in three Slam semifinals in the past 14 months, losing narrowly on each occasion.
The pair had met three times before this season, with Swiatek easily winning each time.
The Pole hasn’t been at her best since her second Slam title at the French Open in June but looked sharper in her quarter-final win over Jessica Pegula on Wednesday.
The errors were back in the opening set here and it was Sabalenka who took the initiative and her power play landed significant shots.
However, Swiatek has shown the utility of their winning habit every two weeks. Instead of struggling through a tie, the Pole was able to dig into deep faith when she needed it most.
In the second set, the top seed clipped most of the errors and began to miss Sabalenka, which she did far too often.
At the start of the decider, the Belarusian was back in the lead, going 2-0 and then 4-2, but each time Swiatek hit back, parrying Sabalenka’s force and taking her chances to smash into the corners.
When Swiatek held 5-4, all the pressure was on Sabalenka’s serve and the top seed seized her opportunity to advance into another final.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/iga-swiatek-aryna-sabalenka-ons-jabeur-arthur-ashe-stadium-ashleigh-barty-b2163414.html Iga Swiatek fights past Aryna Sabalenka to set up US Open final with Ons Jabeur