Iga Swiatek, the former women’s world No. 1, faced an unexpected defeat at the hands of Jelena Ostapenko, resulting in the end of her 75-week reign at the top. Ostapenko’s victory not only ousted the defending champion from the US Open fourth round but also paved the way for Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka to become the new women’s world No. 1.
Ostapenko has a unique ability to challenge Swiatek, having defeated her four times without being defeated herself. The Latvian player’s strength and power on the court were evident in her win, overpowering Swiatek’s typically solid game.
Throughout the match, Ostapenko’s groundstrokes proved too much for Swiatek to handle, particularly her ferocious forehands. By the time Ostapenko secured the match, she had accumulated 31 winners, compared to Swiatek’s 18.
Swiatek, often struggling against power-hitters, faced the pressure of defending her title and her No. 1 ranking at the US Open, which seemed to affect her performance. She acknowledged the challenges of maintaining the top spot and the stress it brought.
Despite the difficulties, Swiatek had enjoyed a remarkable period as the world No. 1, including a 37-match win streak, multiple Grand Slam titles, and a lengthy hold on the top ranking. However, as the season progressed, the pressure took a toll on the young Pole, and she expressed her relief at having the opportunity to reset and recharge.
Swiatek’s journey to the top was marked by her dedication to her game and a record-breaking win streak, but the pressure and scrutiny that accompanied her success became increasingly challenging to manage.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Hindustan Times