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Defending Champion Iga Swiatek Loss To Jelena Ostapenko In Round 4

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Iga Swiatek‘s US Open championship defense came to an end in the fourth round on Sunday night as she was defeated by Jelena Ostapenko 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Swiatek’s reign as No. 1 in the WTA rankings will come to an end as a result of the defeat, and current No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will take over as leader for the first time the following week.

“I don’t know why I played that bad,” Swiatek said. “I’m not happy with my performances on hard courts this year. But overall, I did a pretty good job at maintaining my level. I’m happy I’m going to have time to practice because I miss that.”

The 20th-seeded Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open, unleashed some strong shots in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Swiatek struggled to handle them. Ostapenko was the 2017 French Open champion.

“I knew I have to play my game,” Ostapenko said after accumulating 31 winners to 18 for Swiatek. “I knew I have to be aggressive, because that’s what she doesn’t really like.”

Based on their prior encounters, this was not necessarily a great surprise. Ostapenko now has a career record of 4-0 versus Swiatek. No other player has four wins over the female leader of the WTA rankings since April 2022.

“I was just thinking that I have to play until the very last point, until we shake hands,” Ostapenko said. “I didn’t really give her many chances.”

Ostapenko faltered briefly in the second set after getting off to a great start and taking a 4-1 lead. Swiatek was able to recover the break and get within 4-3 thanks to that. But that was just a little hiccup.

The match immediately leaned in one direction as Swiatek struggled to serve, maybe as a result of all the squeaking Ostapenko’s shoes made while she moved around during the ball throw while waiting to return. Ostapenko won seven straight points to take a 5-0 lead in the third set.

Ostapenko broke for the last time to win the match, taking seven of Swiatek’s 13 service games.

Gauff and Ostapenko have split their prior two encounters. Ostapenko triumphed in the most recent match, which took place in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

Swiatek lost less than a week after she defeated Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, an unseeded player, 6-0, 6-1, to win the tournament opener. But she did admit that after losing in the semifinals in Montreal and Cincinnati in August, she felt her tank was “pretty empty” following that victory.

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