Jelena Ostapenko on ousting World No.1 Iga Swiatek at US Open: I’d to be aggressive as she doesn’t like it

The US Open 2023 took a dramatic turn as defending champion and world number one, Iga Swiatek, was ousted in the fourth round by Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on Sunday, further advancing Ostapenko’s impressive career record against Swiatek to 4-0.

Swiatek’s downfall in a match that ended 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 led her to lose her No.1 rank, which she first gained in April 2022, to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Despite not dropping a set throughout this tournament, Swiatek found herself unable to suppress the determination and prowess of Ostapenko, who displayed confidence with every forehand winner. Ostapenko’s victory sets her up to face off against the American sixth seed Coco Gauff in the next round, who earlier defeated Caroline Wozniacki.

Ostapenko highlighted her aggressive game plan and the sheer willpower she exerted till the last point in her post-match interview. The warning signs were there for Swiatek as she saw Ostapenko claim a break in the first game, yet quickly managed to regain her momentum and secure the first set. However, the second set saw her defenses crumble as Ostapenko levelled the match scores.

The final set proved to be daunting for a dispirited Swiatek as Ostapenko took the reins, committing only two unforced errors and sealing her victory after a dominant performance. This achievement marks Ostapenko’s best performance at the hardcourt major, outdoing her previous six performances where she failed to advance past the third round.

“I always expect a tough battle against Iga,” Ostapenko said. “I knew I had to play my game. I have to be aggressive because that’s what she doesn’t really like and I was just fighting until the very last point.”

“I knew she’s a great player and she’s very consistent, especially last few years. I also knew she would have all the pressure because she’s number one. If she loses against me she loses the number one spot. I knew there will be moments when I have chances, and I waited for them. Second set 4-1, 4-3, a little bit tricky. I was still playing and I was fighting. I think I dominated in the end of the match.”

Ostapenko credited her victory to her mindset of playing with “nothing to lose”, and her recognition of the immense pressure Swiatek was under as the world’s number one. Ostapenko now prepares to meet the formidable Gauff, over whom she claimed a victory in the fourth round of the Australian Open earlier this year.

Published On:

Sep 4, 2023

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