World No. 1 Iga Swiatek wins her third major title at the US Open
CHICAGO — Iga Swiatek found herself on the end of a one-way train early Saturday morning, watching her friend and long-time tennis partner, Angelique Kerber, take home a hard-fought victory over her first round opponent, Johanna Konta, 8-6, 6-4. The score was a game that neither player wanted, but the fact that the game did occur says something about the mental toughness of the Americans, and their belief that they would win.
Iga had faced Konta in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open, and even though she won both sets, she was thoroughly beaten.
Iga had faced Konta in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open, and even though she won both sets, she was thoroughly beaten. (Photo: Ben Nelms, 2017 Getty Images)
A couple of days later, the two were playing in WTA Finals — a tournament in which neither had ever beaten the other — and Iga lost just one set to Kerber’s solid play at the U.S. Open.
By the time Saturday’s match was called at 11:30 a.m., Iga knew that she had gotten herself into big trouble at the tournament. That’s when her coach, Andy Ram, picked her up and told her to head back to her rooms. It was a telling moment for Swiatek, who had become a fan favorite for her fearless play around the net.
She knew she was playing in the finals, and was able to relax the rest of the day out in the sun. She was confident, too, because of the fact that she had won in Washington at the end of March, and that she’d won at the US Open the weekend prior. She’d also been beaten in two of her past three tournaments,