With a few of the other potential contenders for the title going out in the first three days, the possibility of Iga Swiatek picking up a third grand slam is growing. She plays a former champ here in Sloane Stephens although the American is far from the level that saw her surprise everyone back in 2017.
Swiatek delivered an 18th bagel of the year against Jasmine Paolini in round one, dominating from start to finish in her 6-3 6-0 win over the Italian. It was a welcome start for her after having had a fairly poor leadup to the tournament, going only 2-2 in the US Open Series events. The Pole has yet to make the quarter finals or better in New York so anything worse would definitely be seen as disappointing.
Stephens’ 2022 has been a few good tournaments separated by some very poor losses. She came to New York having gone 2-5 since the French Open, with some very suspect losses in the process. It looked like there would be another when the American went a set down against Greetje Minnen but she would bounce back to win in three and spare herself the embarassment.
Swiatek and Stephens first match came only this month back in Cincinnati with the World No. 1 coming out on top 6-4 7-5. With all the crowd energy invested in the Serena fairytale ending, this may allow for less pressure on the other Americans left in the tournament. Whether Stephens is good enough now to take advantage of that is questionable but she has shown she can beat the best on her day in previous years.
Prediction – Iga Swiatek in straight sets