Iga Swiatek sweeps Ons Jabeur for U.S. Open title

Iga Swiatek
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Poland’s Iga Swiatek swept Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the U.S. Open final for her third Grand Slam singles title, extending her historic streak of dominance in finals.

Swiatek, 21, became the second woman in the Open Era to win her first three major finals in straight sets (Lindsay Davenport) and her 17 games lost over her first three finals shattered Davenport’s record fewest of 23. The Pole extended her streak to 10 consecutive wins in WTA tournament finals — all in straight sets — with this being the first time she lost more than four games in any set.

Swiatek, who also won the French Open in 2020 and this year, became the youngest player to win three Grand Slam singles titles since Maria Sharapova took her third of five in 2008.

This seven-match run was different than her triumphs in Paris marked by perfection. In 2020, she won her first major while ranked 54th without losing more than four games in any set. At this year’s French, her title came on a 35-match win streak.

“On clay, I feel like I’m at home,” she said on ESPN. “But here, it was a new experience for me, so I’m even prouder.”

Going into this Slam, she lost in the second round of her two lead-up hard-court events. She made headlines before the U.S. Open by expressing dissatisfaction with the balls used at the New York City major. Twice this week, she rallied from a set down.

“I’m just not expecting a lot, especially before this tournament,” she said in the trophy ceremony. “It was such a challenging time. … I’m so proud I could handle it mentally.”

None of those obstacles seemed relevant out of the gate Saturday. She won 12 of the first 14 points to go up 3-0 in eight minutes and won the first set in a half-hour against Jabeur, the second-best player in the world this year, the Wimbledon runner-up and, until the final, the better player over the course of this tournament.

“Iga never loses finals,” Jabeur said after the semis.

Jabeur rallied in the second set to become the first player to win more than five games off Swiatek in a final since Swiatek’s very first WTA final in 2019. Jabeur had three break points at 4-all in the second set for a chance to serve for the set. Swiatek held steady. Jabeur staved off a Swiatek match point at 6-5, but the Pole won the last three points of the tiebreak.

The 28-year-old Jabeur, already the first African woman to reach a major final in the Open Era (since 1968), vowed to continue to be an inspiration.

“This is just the beginning of so many things,” she said.

Swiatek, who ascended to No. 1 after Australian Ash Barty‘s shock retirement in March, goes into 2023 with a dominance over the tour arguably not seen since Serena Williams‘ heyday. A win at the next major, the Australian Open, where she lost in the semifinals this year, would put her a Wimbledon title away from a career Grand Slam.

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Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

All NBC and CNBC coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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