World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is only 21 years old, but she’s already establishing herself as a player that no one wants to come up against in a tournament, let alone in a final.
Winning the 2022 US Open title marked her 10th straight victory in a tournament final and her seventh title match win of this season – all of which she accomplished in straight sets. As well, Saturday’s triumphant finale marked her second major title of the year and third career major.
Above all else, winning her maiden US Open title saw the Polish phenom improve to a perfect 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals. That’s impressive, if not rare.
She’s not done yet, though.
Swiatek told reporters in her post-match press conference that winning at the US Open showed her “the sky’s the limit.”
She’s right. And that’s an ominous sign for the rest of the WTA Tour.
Swiatek’s Impact on Tennis Betting Futures
Swiatek’s impact is being felt across sports betting markets, in a sport that has often lacked consistency at the highest level in recent years
Tennis futures markets feature Swiatek as the top bet at +225 for the 2023 Australian Open, which is the first grand slam of the calendar year.
She’s also the +225 favorite to win the 2023 US Open. Whereas, for her beloved Roland Garros, she’s odds-on at -130 to win the title.
Even at Wimbledon, where she’s had her worst Grand Slam results so far, oddsmakers aren’t diminishing her chances to win. She’s priced as the top bet, albeit at +400, to win the prestigious title at the All England Club.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2022
Swiatek’s US Open Triumph
Swiatek arrived in Flushing Meadows as the bookmakers’ favorite to win, but a shadow of doubt was cast over her tennis odds after she suffered early exits in Toronto and Cincinnati. Then, as the media buzz surrounding Serena Williams grew in crescendo, in what is assumed to be the great American’s final-ever appearance at the US Open, Swiatek was overlooked a bit.
It was as if she – the world No. 1 player – was an afterthought. Looking back at it now, it’s insane that it would be so. Especially considering she was the pre-tournament tennis betting favorite and in the midst of a banner season. She’d taken over the world No. 1 ranking, won six titles and set a new record in the women’s game by going on a 37-match unbeaten run – the likes of which haven’t been seen since the heyday of the Williams sisters.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, though, it could have been the best thing to happen. It took the attention away from the Polish phenom, allowing her to work on her form with each passing match without any distractions or undue scrutiny.
And when all was said and done, she was the last woman left standing.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2022
Swiatek’s 6-2, 7-6 (5) win over Tunisian trail blazer Ons Jabeur in Arthur Ashe stadium was without a doubt her best match of the tournament. The culmination of all of her preceding victories at Flushing Meadows. In particular when she was forced to figure her game out against big-hitters such as Julie Niemeier in the Round of 16 and Aryna Sabalenka in the semis – two players that took the first set off Swiatek before she battled back to win in three.
Jabeur, who was making her second straight Grand Slam final, was in fine form at Flushing Meadows. She was coming off a stellar semifinal win over Caroline Garcia, dispatching the Frenchwoman 6-1, 6-3 in 65 minutes. And yet, Swiatek dismantled Jabeur right out of the gates and never let up, even when the Tunisian tried to rally midway through the second set.
ESPN commentator and former tennis great Chris Evert observed during her coverage of Saturday’s final Swiatek’s performance. “She played her best match of the tournament today. She’s No. 1 in the world and she played like a No. 1 player,” said Evert.
Swiatek Only Getting Started
Swiatek’s best results before this year came mostly on clay. It’s probably why her breakthrough came at Roland Garros while she continued to struggle at the other three Grand Slams.
Something changed in 2022. A switch was turned on or something. Swiatek started the season with such verve and swagger that she finally broke through to the Australian Open semis. Then, she carried that momentum through the first half of the season as she picked up five straight titles, including the Sunshine Double (titles in Indian Wells and Miami) and the French Open.
“I feel like I can adjust to anything,” said a confident Swiatek with her shiny trophy perched on the podium in front of her. “Right now I feel that.”
The scary thing for the rest of the WTA Tour is that Swiatek is only just getting started. She’s yet to reach her full potential.
“I know I still have a lot to improve on court,” Swiatek told reporters. “That’s something that I’m excited for because maybe it’s just going to get easier to play these matches.”
WTA Grand Slam Champions
The retirement (or evolution) of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is going to leave a void in the women’s game. Consistency is a hard currency to come by. But a few players, including Swiatek, are showing signs of potentially filling that void. Whether they’ll ever reach the great heights Serena did remains to be seen, but the first step is to step up to the plate.
Swiatek first broke into the winner’s circle in 2020 after winning her maiden French Open title, becoming the first Polish Grand Slam champion in the process. It took her almost two years to win her second title, but she’s now won two in a calendar season.
The only other player on the WTA Tour to have won more Grand Slam titles in recent years is Naomi Osaka. The Japanese star’s breakthrough came at the 2018 US Open when she beat Williams. She then went on to win a second consecutive title at the 2019 Australian Open.
Osaka would pull off the back-to-back title run again by winning the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open. However, since her last Grand Slam triumph, Osaka has endured her fair share of struggles — both on and off the court. it’s hoped that she will find her way back to form because the game is infinitely better when she’s in top form and competing for big titles.
It’s worth noting that since Serena Williams’ last championship title in 2017 at the Australian Open, there have been 14 different champions and only six of those are multiple champions: Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Osaka, Ashleigh Barty and Swiatek.
Since Williams’ lost to Bianca Andreescu in the final of the 2019 US Open – her last Grand Slam final appearance – there have been five first-time champions. They are Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Barbora Krejcikova, Emma Raducanu and Elena Rybakina.