NEW YORK   -   World No.1 Iga Swiatek swept to a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the US Open final on Saturday to clinch her maiden trophy at Flushing Meadows and third Grand Slam crown. 

Poland’s Swiatek fell on her back and covered her face with her hands after prevailing in the tight second-set tiebreak, having sealed the win when fifth seed Jabeur’s shot sailed long. It was twice French Open cham­pion Swiatek’s first Grand Slam title on a hard court and the 21-year-old is the first Polish woman to win the US Open. 

“I really needed to stay composed and focused on the goals, and at this tournament it was really challenging,” Swiatek said during the on-court trophy ceremony. “It’s New York, it’s so loud, it’s so crazy. There were so many temp­tations in the city ... I’m so proud I could handle it mentally.” 

In addition to the trophy, Swiatek also leaves New York with a $2.6 mil­lion winner’s check. “I’m really glad that it’s not in cash,” she said to laughs from the sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Swiatek did well during the match to tune out the crowd, who at times whistled and made other noises while she was serving, earning stern re­bukes from the chair umpire. 

The demonstrative Jabeur was able to harness the energy of her fans at times but it was not enough to overcome the focused and determined Swi­atek. “Ons, such an amazing tournament, such an amazing sea­son,” Swiatek said after im­proving to 3-2 lifetime against Jabeur. “I know that this is already a pretty nice rivalry and we’re going to have many more. I’m pretty sure you’re going to win some of them so don’t worry.” 

Despite the defeat, Wimbledon finalist Jabeur will regain her world No.2 rank­ing when the tournament concludes on Sunday. “I really tried but Iga didn’t make it easy for me,” Jabeur said. “She deserved to win today. I don’t like her very much right now but it’s okay,” she added with a smile. “I’m going to keep fighting hard and we’ll get that title sometime soon.”

Jabeur made history at Wimbledon when she became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final. She added another line in the histo­ry books in New York, becoming the first African woman to reach the U.S. Open championship match. “Hopefully I can inspire more and more genera­tions, that’s the goal,” she said. “This is just the beginning of so many things.”

Swiatek’s title in New York is the lat­est triumph in a season overflowing with them. She ascended to world No.1 fol­lowing the surprising retirement of Aus­tralian Ash Barty in March and quickly showed she was worthy of the position, winning 37 consecutive matches, includ­ing the French Open. The claycourt spe­cialist showed she could be successful on hard courts, too, with wins at Indian Wells and Miami, but finally looked vul­nerable after early exits at US Open tune-up events in Toronto and Cincinnati. 

She made headlines coming into New York by criticizing the balls being used at the US Open and said her expecta­tions for herself were low. Swiatek’s path to the title was not plain sailing. She needed to battle back from a set down in her fourth-round match with 108th-ranked Jule Niemeier and from 4-2 down in the third set against Ary­na Sabalenka in the semi-final. But she peaked at the right time, playing her best tennis of the tournament to see off Jabeur and etch her name once again into Poland’s sporting history. “Being raised in Poland, it’s not so sure for us that we will to be tennis superstars,” she told ESPN while white-and-red clad Polish tennis fans chanted “Iga! Iga!”.