US Open: defending champion Iga Swiatek dumped out, dream over for China’s Wang Xinyu, Coco Gauff ends Caroline Wozniacki’s comeback
- Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko is again too good for Swiatek, whose defeat will see her deposed as world No 1 after 75 weeks at the top
- Wang tests Karolina Muchova in a three-set loss, while Gauff is taken the distance by Wozniacki, but Novak Djokovic strolls through
Defending champion Iga Swiatek was sent crashing out of the US Open on Sunday, losing in three sets to Latvia’s 20th seed Jelena Ostapenko.
Ostapenko fought back to record a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory, setting up a quarter-final with American sixth seed Coco Gauff, who ended Caroline Wozniacki’s New York return on a day when Novak Djokovic continued his march towards a 24th grand slam crown.
Swiatek’s defeat will end her 75-week reign as world No 1 when the rankings are updated after the tournament, with Aryna Sabalenka set to overtake her.
Ostapenko’s victory also extends her unbeaten record against the Pole after wins in all three of their previous meetings.
“I always expect a tough battle against Iga, she’s such a great player and won many Slams and is so consistent,” Ostapenko said.
“I knew I had to be aggressive and play my game because that’s what she doesn’t like. I was just thinking that I have to play until the very last point, until we shake hands.”
Swiatek had cruised into the fourth round without dropping a set in her first three matches, looking in prime form to defend her title.
On Sunday she finally looked ready to score a first victory over Ostapenko, playing confidently to take the first set. But Ostapenko snatched an early break in the second set and Swiatek struggled thereafter.
Having already broken her opponent three service games in a row, Ostapenko was broken as she served for the match, but Swiatek again crumbled on serve to go tumbling out.
“She plays well against me. I mean, I don’t have any comparison because she always did that,” Swiatek said.
“But I’m just surprised that my level changed so drastically because usually when I play bad, I play bad at the beginning, then I kind of catch up or just problem-solve. This time it was totally the opposite.
“I don’t really know what happened with my game. I felt no control suddenly.”
When Sabalenka takes over at the top, there will be a new men’s No 1 as well, with Djokovic retaking the ranking, but the Serb’s primary goal remains a fourth US Open title that would see him match Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 grand slams.
The 36-year-old took another step towards it on Sunday, easing past Croatia’s Borna Gojo 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
China’s Wang Xinyu went down fighting as her campaign ended in the last 16.
The world No 53 had reached that stage of a grand slam championship for the first time by battling past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in three sets, and she gave Czech 10th seed Karolina Muchova a test, too, before losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Wang still has a chance for glory in the women’s doubles alongside Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan after they won their third-round tussle with Kamilla Rakhimova and Elina Avanesyan.
Wozniacki, returning to Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2019 after coming out of retirement following the birth of her two children, kept Gauff on her toes for two sets but the Dane lack of match practice caught up with her in a with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory for Gauff.
The 19-year-old is one of the United States’ brightest hopes at the year’s final major and she beat an opponent 14 years her senior by producing 33 winners.
“She definitely gets to a lot of balls,” Gauff said. “Today I knew going in I had to play aggressive. I have confidence in myself that I can go even further.”