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Jabeur: “I feel like I know exactly what to do against Swiatek”

  • Matt Trollope

Ons Jabeur is playing with a magnificent air of clarity and destiny at US Open 2022.

Two months on from her run to the Wimbledon final, the Tunisian star has made her second successive Grand Slam final, advancing to the final at Flushing Meadows and dropping just one set in the process.

Now, she confronts perhaps the biggest challenge in professional tennis – facing world No.1 Iga Swiatek in a final.

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Swiatek set up a dream title match against Jabeur, which pits the two best-performed players of 2022, who hold the No.1 and No.2 positions in the WTA points race, against one another.

Swiatek sealed her spot in Saturday’s final by coming through an absorbing three-set affair against the resurgent Aryna Sabalenka. 

Iga Swiatek celebrates after defeating Aryna Sabalenka in a three-set semifinal at the US Open. (Getty Images)

When she faces fifth-ranked Jabeur, she will do so having won her last nine finals – all in straight sets – and her last nine matches against top-10 opponents. 

Sixth-ranked Sabalenka was the only one of those nine to take a set.

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“Iga never loses finals, so it's going to be very tough,” said Jabeur, who cruised past a wayward Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-3 in the first of Thursday night’s semifinals.

“I know she struggled a little bit with the balls here, but I don't see her struggling much, to be honest with you. She's playing awesome. It's going to be tough match. Definitely going for my revenge.

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

The revenge to which Jabeur refers is her 6-2 6-2 loss to the Polish youngster in May’s Rome final.

It is one of six finals the 27-year-old has tallied this season, a year in which she rose to a career best ranking of No.2, in June.

Her loss in the Wimbledon final, from a set up against Elena Rybakina, was bitterly disappointing, yet it was simultaneously instructive. 

And in her press conference following that defeat, she was already looking ahead.

"I cannot wait for the US Open swing,” she said. “It's going to be amazing. I feel very positive about it."

Her impressive performance in New York is a manifestation of this mindset.

“Definitely saying out loud what I want to do is part of me achieving things,” she revealed. 

“I remember saying that I want to be a top five (player), I wanted to win a Grand Slam, and I wanted to qualify for the Masters. You know, two (things), check, check. There is one more (I’m) going to check hopefully soon.

“I just feel like now I can do whatever I can do and what I want to do on the court.

“I'm definitely going to learn from all the finals that I played, and especially the last one at Wimbledon.

“(At Wimbledon there were) a lot of emotions. Just going to that final was really tough for me, especially the second set.

“But then I feel like this final, I'm going full in, I'm going for everything. 

“I feel very positive about this one.”