US Open - Day 11: Superstars Jabeur and Swiatek book dream final

Arthur Ashe Stadium housed two modern-day greats inching towards another historic triumph.

Ons Jabeur / Demi-finales US Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Statistically and arguably stylistically Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have been the best players this season.

They’ve combined for a staggering 98 match wins between them and have now reached their second major finals of the campaign.

This fortnight at Flushing Meadows they’ve brought the Broadway brilliance to star on centre stage at the US Open. 

Jabeur backs up Wimbledon run

Let’s start with Tunisian trailblazer Jabeur. The No. 5 seed set her marker for a maiden Grand Slam, dismantling the red hot Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 in just 66 minutes.

“Great game for me, to be honest. It was the plan to just follow my coach for the first time 100 per cent,” smiled the Minister of Happiness, the first African woman to ever reach the US Open final. “He's satisfied. He didn't have nothing to say after the match.

“I know she was very confident so I had to really impose my game from the beginning, and it was working very well until the end of the match.”

Ons Jabeur / Demi-finales US Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Garcia entered their highly-anticipated semi-final on a 13-match winning streak, but the rejuvenated Cincinnati champion wasn’t given any freedom. Jabeur hit her spots on serve, rifled down 21 winners and didn’t even offer up a single break point.

“It feels amazing,” said Jabeur moments after falling to the court, sprawled in a star shape to soak up the moment. “After Wimbledon there was a lot of pressure on me and I’m really relieved that I could back up my results.”

Ons is offering plenty of champion’s talk. “I'm definitely going to learn from all the finals that I played, and especially the last one at Wimbledon,” added the world No. 5. “I'm going to give it all. Definitely going for the title here.”

Swiatek's risks rewarded

Iga Swiatek better be ready.

The world No.1 continues to portray her brilliance and ability to peak on the major stage, extending her winning streak against Top 10 opponents to nine matches. 

The 21-year-old, the first Polish woman to reach the US Open final, rallied from 0-2 and 2-4 in the decider to eventually outgun No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka in an absorbing two-hour 11 minutes tussle.

Iga Swiatek / Demi-finales US Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Just like her fourth round comeback against Jule Niemeier, Swiatek built her way back into the match methodically.

“I knew I have nothing to lose, basically,” stated Swiatek buoyed by her risks being rewarded".

“I think just mentally maybe these two games that I lost (0-2 to start set three) kind of helped me to get back on ground and realise I still have a lot of expectations even though the second set was pretty dominant".

“I went all in. I just feel like you have to do that kind of sometimes against Aryna, because she's trying to be really dominant, and she's playing really aggressively. Sometimes just maybe pushing her back a little bit is the best thing you can do because when she's going forward, it's hard to stop her. I needed to kind of to go all in to change the momentum a little bit in third set.” 

On several occasions Swiatek had her eyes closed at the changeovers, visualising how to approach the next points facing the force of Sabalenka.

“Earlier I felt like my emotions kind of were taking over and I was panicking a little bit when I was losing,” admitted the top seed.

“For sure I grew up, I learned a lot. And the work we've put with Daria (sports psychologist) for sure helped. Right now, it's just easier for me to actually logically think what I can change.”

Stage is set for fitting finale

The Roland-Garros champion, who compiled an astonishing 37-match winning streak earlier this season to yield six titles, is level 2-2 in previous encounters with Saturday’s opponent Jabeur. 

The Tunisian is well aware of the task in the final having fallen 6-2, 6-2 to Swiatek in their most recent meeting earlier this summer in the Rome title match.

“Iga never loses finals, so it's going to be very tough,” quipped Jabeur. “I know she struggled a little bit with the balls here, but I don't see her struggling much, to be honest. She's playing awesome.

“Definitely going for my revenge. I love playing on this surface, and I feel like I know exactly what to do against her.”

Roll on Saturday.