Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, pulled off a stunning upset over the defending US Open champion and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round on Sunday night. Ostapenko came back from a set down to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in a thrilling match that lasted one hour and 49 minutes.
Ostapenko, who is ranked No. 30 in the world, started the match nervously and made several unforced errors in the first set. Swiatek, who had not dropped a set in the tournament so far, took advantage and broke Ostapenko twice to clinch the set 6-3.
However, Ostapenko did not give up and raised her level in the second set. She became more aggressive and confident, hitting 14 winners and only six unforced errors. She also improved her serve, winning 76% of her first serve points and saving all three break points she faced. She broke Swiatek twice to level the match at one set all.
The momentum was clearly with Ostapenko in the final set, as she continued to dominate Swiatek with her powerful groundstrokes and angles. She broke Swiatek three times and held her own serve comfortably to seal the victory with a forehand winner.
Swiatek, who had won her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, was unable to cope with Ostapenko’s pressure and intensity. She made 28 unforced errors and only 15 winners in the match, and lost her serve six times. She also struggled with her movement and footwork, as Ostapenko kept her off balance with her variety and depth.
Swiatek admitted that she was not feeling well physically and mentally during the match. She said that she had some stomach issues and felt dizzy at times. She also said that she was not able to handle Ostapenko’s unpredictability and pace.
Swiatek’s loss means that she will lose her No. 1 ranking next week, as Aryna Sabalenka will take over the top spot. Swiatek said that she was not too concerned about the ranking, as she knew it was temporary and that she still had a lot of room for improvement.
Ostapenko, who has now beaten Swiatek four times in four meetings, advanced to her first US Open quarterfinal. She will face No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-4 in another fourth round match.
Ostapenko said that she was very happy with her performance and that she believed in herself. She said that she had nothing to lose against Pliskova and that she would try to enjoy the match and play her best tennis.