Iga Świątek in her knockout defeat
Photo: Corey Sipkin / AFP
Iga Świątek failed in the round of 22 of the US Open and loses the number one in the world rankings. The 6-year-old Pole lost to her feared opponent Jelena Ostapenko 3: 3, 6: 1, 6: 75 and had to give up her hope of defending her title in New York early. Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka will also replace her at the top of the ranking after <> weeks.
"She always plays very well against me," said Świątek, "but I'm surprised that my level has changed so drastically. I don't really know what happened to my game, I suddenly had no control."
For Świątek it was the fourth defeat in her fourth match against the Latvian, who celebrated her only major triumph so far in Paris in 2017. Świątek had been in the top position for 75 weeks in a row.
At their premieres as world number one, only Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis managed this over a longer period of time. "It meant a lot to me. It was also very tiring," Swiatek said. I would have loved to extend this record a little more."
Latvian Ostapenko will face US hopeful Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals, who ended the miraculous Grand Slam comeback of former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, but gave her opponent a lot of praise.
"Caroline is back, it's as if she had never been away," said Gauff, full of respect for the 33-year-old, who immediately caused a stir again after three and a half years without a professional game. This also applies to the Romanian Sorana Cîrsteatea, 33, who reached a major quarter-final for the first time in 14 years and will face Paris finalist Karolína Muchová from the Czech Republic.
Djoković now against Americans
For the men, on the other hand, there were no major surprises on the day before Alexander Zverev's appearance against Jannik Sinner. Djoković enjoyed the encouragement after his befitting 6: 2, 7: 5, 6: 4 round of <> success against Borna Gojo from Croatia. "For me, these night sessions at Arthur Ashe Stadium are always something very special," said the Grand Slam record champion: "I really appreciate your support."
But this is likely to be significantly lower from the quarter-finals onwards. Because now the 36-year-old Serb has to deal with the concentrated US power. For the first time since 2005, three professionals from the host country are in the round of the last eight of the US Open - the hope for the first victory of a local hero since Andy Roddick 20 years ago is high. Service giant Ben Shelton and last year's semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe meet in a direct duel, Djoković now has Taylor Fritz in front of his chest, who ended the strong run of Swiss Dominic Stricker and remains without losing a set.