World No. 1 Iga Swiatek began her US Open title defense with a commanding performance on Monday, overwhelming unseeded Rebecca Peterson in a 6-0, 6-1 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Swiatek, who has won four Grand Slam titles, showcased her dominance by hitting 20 winners and serving four aces. Her impressive display of skill sets up a second-round encounter with Australian Daria Saville.
Despite admitting to feeling drained after her semifinal exits in Montreal and Cincinnati earlier this month, Swiatek exhibited no signs of fatigue as she started her US Open campaign with an ace and breezed through the first set. The Polish player briefly faced some vulnerability in the second set, accumulating unforced errors and having to fight back from triple break point in the opening game. However, she swiftly regained her composure and showcased why she has held the World No. 1 ranking since April 2022.
At the start of the fourth game in the second set, Swiatek delivered an unreturnable backhand shot that solidified her break of Peterson’s serve. This pivotal moment occurred during a remarkable 10-point winning streak, leaving Peterson unable to regain her composure. With only two winners to her name throughout the match, Peterson struggled to match Swiatek’s level of play. Swiatek sealed her victory with a scorching backhand shot down the line, prompting her to pump her fist in celebration.
Reflecting on her performance, Swiatek expressed her satisfaction with executing her game plan and commencing the tournament on a solid note. Overcoming the pressure and high expectations, she emphasized her ability to enjoy herself on the court. Swiatek’s consistent drive and passion for the game shine through in her ability to perform at such a high level, even in the face of defending her US Open title.
In another match on Monday, the No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Rebeka Masarova. Masarova capitalized on all three break-point opportunities presented to her, securing a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the top-10 player. This triumph marks Masarova’s first-ever win against a player in the top-10 rankings, further solidifying the unpredictable nature of Grand Slam tournaments.
Iga Swiatek’s dominant performance in her opening match at the US Open demonstrates her unwavering determination to defend her title. With her arsenal of powerful shots and relentless pressure, she dismissed Rebecca Peterson with ease. Swiatek’s ability to maintain her focus and have fun on the court sets her apart from her competitors, making her a formidable force in the tournament. However, the surprising upset of Maria Sakkari by Rebeka Masarova serves as a reminder that anything can happen in the unpredictable world of professional tennis.