World number 1 Iga Swiatek laboriously qualified for the quarter-finals of the US Open on Monday, overthrowing 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 the German Jule Niemeier, modest 108th in the WTA rankings and whose it was the first participation in the New York Major. The 21-year-old Polish, who reaches this stage of the competition for the first time at Flushing Meadows, will try to do even better on Wednesday against the American Jessica Pegula (8th), who easily dismissed 6-3, 6-2 the Czech Karolina Pliskova (21st).
But, in the dampness of the Louis-Armstrong court, it was hard for the double winner of Roland-Garros (2020 and 2022), who was only a shadow of herself in the first two rounds. Because Niemeier, almost unknown until her journey which led her to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon at the end of June, approached the meeting without complex, making her power speak without the Polish, excessively clumsy, finding an answer to oppose. .
After the loss of the first set, Swiatek got breakered from the start. She had just missed the mark on the previous game, which lasted ten minutes. Head hidden in spite in her towel at the change of sides, hands trembling with nervousness, she finally found the fault in the next game to equalize.
Loud howl of frustration
Relaunched? Not yet, because if she broke Niemeier twice in a row to lead 4-2 then 5-3, each time she immediately conceded her face-off. Enough to make her let out a big howl of frustration. Unable to hold his serve, Swiatek nevertheless found the resources to equalize in sets everywhere by taking for the fourth time in a row that of his opponent, who had become more and more feverish.
The last round was a lone rider, the Polish leaving no crumbs to Niemeier, carried by a momentum and dynamism finally found. Probably quite relieved to have avoided her first Grand Slam defeat against a player ranked above 100th in the world. Aged 23, Niemeier, whose ranking would nevertheless not be the same if the points had been awarded at Wimbledon, can be satisfied with her performance at the US Open. Two weeks ago, she was knocked out in the 1st round of a lower category ITF circuit tournament in the Bronx.