Saturday, first place Iga Swiatek Poland will take fifth place Anas Jaber Tunisia. If Gaber wins, she will become the first African woman in the open era to win a singles Grand Slam title. If Swiatek wins, it will be her third major title, having won two French Open titles, one in 2020 and one earlier this year. So… who will win? We asked our experts:
What can Jaber do to defeat Swiatek?
Alexandra Stephenson: Jaber can do whatever she wants. Her chip game – the extraordinary combination of tennis acumen she shows with her strokes – will determine whether she can win on Saturday. Or will Swiatek sports eventually remove Jabeur’s chip and dice? Jabeur has won a low service rate. This is a testament to the open door in women’s tennis today.
Cliff Drysdale: Jabber needs to get very high on her first serve to avoid getting her second serve damaged. You also need to use her drop shots and imaginative play so that Swiatek can’t find the beat.
Luke Jensen: Jaber can be a colossal malfunction! The multi-level tactical approach to throwing many different turns, moves, and Jabeur’s signature drop shots will help her play the match that Swiatek doesn’t want to play.
Tom Hamilton: If Jaber is going to win this, she has to do it in straight sets. Swiatek fell twice in a group at this year’s US Open, and has fallen off it twice to win a triple. She is a lady of endurance sport. So Jabeur needs to get her foot on the accelerator right from the start – targeting Swiatek with her precise serve (she has 34 aces so far, and just four short of the championship leader). Chinwen Cheng, who clocked 38 hours, also got 73% of the points on her first serve when landing correctly) and didn’t give her a moment to think or respond. This must be done quickly. Jabeur could have learned from the agonizing Wimbledon final, as she set out to lead 6-3, but lost on three points.
Darcy Maine: Jabeur has been vocal about how much she would like to win the title at Wimbledon, and now, having been so close to a major title before, she has a much better understanding of what to do and what to expect in a Grand Slam final. . After her victory on Thursday, she said she needed to keep her emotions in check and stick to the game plan her coach had laid out for her. If she can do so, and continue the absolute service she was opposed to Caroline Garcia (She had eight aces and never faced a single break point), a win would be within her reach.
Aishwarya Kumar: Swiatek’s starts have been slow throughout this tournament, losing her serve early on (and on two occasions losing the first set). She’s lost 16 service matches in the past three rounds, depending on her comeback skills to work her way back in to win matches.
Jaber must take advantage of her shaky start, pushing her up and down the court with her slides, falling shots and precise angles. Then, once you get a set, Jabeur must maintain pressure early in the second set, take free points on her first serve (she’s landed 34 aces in this tournament) and not allow Swiatek a chance to break. Swiatek has worked her way out of really tough situations in the last few rounds, including coming back from a 2-4 break in the third set against Arina Sabalenkaso it will be critical for Jaber to serve really well against the number 1 seed in the world.
What can Swiatek do to defeat Jaber?
Stephenson: Swiatek struggled hard to reach the final. She might be #1 – but here at the US Open she had to adjust her forehand hit to get used to court speed with her far western grip and lighter women’s balls on regular missions. You fought well and found the moments to reach the final.
Drysdale: Swiatek needs to wait for chances of a knockout win. She was making more mistakes than usual in a rush.
Jensen: Expect the unexpected. Being able to laser focus to spot the different changes that Jabeur will throw at it will be key.
who: It was an interesting run for Swiatek. Unlike clay, its preferred and most controlled surface, there have been moments of struggle on New York’s hard courts, and it has had more inadvertent errors than winners in every game it’s played.
But, even so, what’s particularly impressive about Swiatek is her mental determination and ability to make mid-match adjustments. She doesn’t get too upset, even when dropping a group, and that has given her increased confidence throughout the tournament. This mental strength may ultimately be her greatest asset against Jabeur’s game that is full of variety. She will need to keep finding answers, and she will need to rely on her strong ability to come back against Jaber’s strong serve, if she is to win her third major title on Saturday.
Hamilton: Fortunately, Swiatek’s serve return has been great, and she needs to get Jabeur’s serve back early. If she manages to counter Jabber’s serve from the start, and sticks to her serve, it will make Jabber uncomfortable.
She can also benefit from the experience of winning two Grand Slam titles, including this year’s French Open. This experience in an environment like this is invaluable, but she also needs to strike that perfect balance of confidence in her own ability but also self-doubt enough to motivate herself to fight harder.
“Maybe I’m the type to never trust myself. I don’t care,” Swiatek said earlier this week. “It’s not like it’s a negative thing for me. Sure, having doubts is not a nice thing, but I also find it very motivating to actually, you know, try to get better and try to find new skills to get as close to confidence as possible.”
Kumar: Swiatek needs to start strong. She can’t afford to lose service games early on – Jaber is very good at taking advantage of this kind of dirty play. Swiatek needs to serve up well early in the game. Next, she has to do what she does best: come back well.
Swiatek broke serve in 35 of the 60 games she played in New York, an average of 58%. This is what you excel at. In their last meeting, in Rome, she broke Jaber five times to win the match in straight sets (6-2 and 6-2). Since then Jabeur has improved its service game so it won’t be that easy this time, but it’s an incredible return, so you really need to push Jabeur during service games.
Who do you think will win?
Stephenson: For me, Jaber wins. Her low vulnerability crosses the field at lightning speed. If you do this, you will disturb Swiatek’s rhythm.
Drysdale: Swiatek must win. Her self-confidence level rises, and she escapes a trap against Sabalenka, giving her a second chance.
Jensen: Jaber is optional. Swiatek plays with apprehension, especially in a stressful match like a major final. Jabeur seems to have learned a lot from the Wimbledon final in terms of dealing with the big moment. I know Swiatek has won two majors, but she doesn’t like balls and can turn negative if things don’t go well.
Hamilton: I think Swiatek will win her second slam tournament this year. Her record in the Finals is ridiculous, and if she could get to that level of winning 37 straight games earlier in the year, it would take a massive effort to bring her down. Jaber obviously has a chance to win on Saturday, but I think Swiatek’s experience will come true and she will win in straight sets. Swiatek also did not lose in the finals – she won her last nine.
who: Jaber. She was a woman on assignment all two weeks in New York and was almost on her way to the final. Having already played in a Grand Slam final, she knows the emotions you are going to feel, and most importantly, how to deal with those emotions. Jabeur beat Swiatek in straight sets during their last hardcourt meeting, in Cincinnati in 2021, and he’s full of confidence after beating Garcia. It’s as if the momentum is on Jaber’s side and that’s her nickname for the win.
Kumar: I said this at the start of the tournament, and I’ll stick with it now: Ons Jabeur. The rivalry between Jabeur and Swiatek will keep us entertained for years to come, so it won’t be easy for Jabeur (their confrontation is 2-2). But she’s facing a hot streak now, which sees her qualify for back-to-back Grand Slam finals, and if there’s anyone who can stop Swiatek, it’s Jabeur. The slide, the method of sending first, and the effective way in which you adapt in difficult situations (returning from a group versus an American player Shelby Rogers) will help her get her first big trophy that comes on Sunday.