United States: World number one Iga Chiantek overcame a sluggish serve to beat American Jessica Pegula 6-3 7-6(3) last night to reach the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time in her career.
The French Open champion dropped her racket and raised her first in the air after a victory that ensured her retaining the world’s number one ranking after the tournament ended.
Chiantik said in a courtside interview: “I didn’t expect this at the start of the tournament”. “I worked really hard and tried to keep my expectations low. Today was a tough match, and I think the performance was good, so I’m happy to deal with it.”
Despite the victory, the Polish player is still trying to regain her dominant level from the beginning of last year, when she won 37 consecutive matches.
Chiantik, 21, failed to win the match twice when serving in the second set and lost her serve six times to eighth seed Pegula.
“I knew even though I broke her serve, it wouldn’t be like the men’s confrontations when things are decided when you have the serve,” the Polish player added.
“I know that, so I was trying to put pressure on her, but she was a great service back, so she put the pressure on me, and that’s why it ended in the tiebreak.”
Chiantik plays Arina Sabalenka for a place in the final.
“It’s going to be a tough match, even though I’ve won it in my last two matches,” Chiantik said. “I know she’s playing really well, so I have to be ready for quick-serve and big punches, but I had that day against Jessica; I’ll be ready.”
Pegula’s defeat ended the hopes of any American player winning the title, as she was the last player from the host country in the women’s singles competitions.
“It was exciting when I kept returning the break and wanted to give (the fans) the third set, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” said Pegula.