Iga Swiatek’s toilet break does the trick as she books US Open final: ‘I felt lighter. I’m sorry, that’s disgusting’

·3-min read
Iga Swiatek celebrates Credit: PA Images
Iga Swiatek celebrates Credit: PA Images

Iga Swiatek found herself up against it in her US Open semi-final, but a change in tactics and a bathroom break helped her to see off Aryna Sabalenka and reach the final for the first time at Flushing Meadows.

The two-time Grand Slam winner started the match as the heavy favourite, but it was Sabalenka who was on top early on as she won the opening set before the Pole turned things around to win the engrossing battle 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The script was torn up early on as Sabalenka broke to love in game four, but her joy was short-lived as the top seed hit back immediately. However, the world No 6 backed it up with another break in game six and this time she held serve to consolidate her lead. A third break in game nine earned her the set.

Swiatek took a comfort break after the set and it appeared to do the trick as she started the second set with a break before two more breaks in games five and seven took them to a decider.

But there was a role reversal as Sabalenka broke in game one before the Pole drew level in game four. The Belarusian, though, edged ahead again a game later but Swiatek broke to love in game eight to get level on serve.

After a comfortable hold, she claimed a third break as she wrapped up the match on her second match point.

“Against Aryna you have to have the energy to push her back and be able to play those fast balls,” Swiatek said during her on-court interview.

“In the first set I lacked a little bit of that so I needed to get it together. Drink some energy shots and just kind of go with it. I’m pretty glad that I did that.”

As for her visit to the bathroom, Swiatek joked: “I kind of needed to go. For sure I felt lighter. I’m sorry, that’s disgusting.

“I just tried to use that time and think about what to change. I remember that when I was younger, all I would do in the bathroom between sets when I lost was cry. This time I was able to problem solve.”

Swiatek will face Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur in Saturday’s final after the Tunisian beat Caroline Garcia in straight sets.

“It’s always tough and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be physical,” Swiatek said.

“She has such good hands, she is solid on the baseline and when she’s going in so I have to be careful.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy being in the final.”

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