Wednesday, 5 October, 2022

Swiatek bathroom break sets up Jabeur US Open title showdown

Swiatek bathroom break sets up Jabeur US Open title showdown
Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after defeating Aryna Sabalenka during their Women’s Singles Semifinal match of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Thursday. –AFP PHOTO

An emergency bathroom break powered world number one Iga Swiatek into a US Open final showdown with trailblazing Tunisian fifth-seed Ons Jabeur on Thursday.

Two-time French Open champion Swiatek advanced to the first US Open final of her career after coming from behind to beat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The victory sent the 21-year-old from Poland into a Saturday final with Jabeur, who thrashed France's Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 in Thursday's other semi-final.

Sabalenka, the sixth seed from Belarus, looked poised to create an upset after a dominant first set performance in which she broke Swiatek no fewer than three times.

But Swiatek was rejuvenated after a quick dash to the bathroom following the opening set. "I kind of needed to go," Swiatek said. "For sure I felt lighter. I'm sorry -- that's disgusting."

Swiatek also said the break had helped her analyse the flaws in her first set performance.

"I tried to use that time to think about what to change because I remember when I was younger all I would do in the bathroom between sets after I lost was cry.

"But this time I could think about what to change and actually problem solve."

In Thursday's other semi-final, Jabeur outclassed France's Garcia to become the first African woman ever to reach the final of the US Open. It was another notable milestone for Jabeur, who was also the first African woman to reach the Wimbledon final in July.

Jabeur's victory extended her career-long domination of Garcia.

The 28-year-old Tunisian had beaten Garcia four times as a junior in Grand Slam events, and twice as a professional in Slams before Thursday.