US Open 2022: World No. 1 tennis star Iga Swiatek draws scathing criticism for her ‘immature junior move’ against Lauren Davis
World No. 1 tennis player Iga Swiatek raised eyebrows with a bizarre tactic at the US Open.
She beat unseeded American Lauren Davis in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, but there was a moment in the second set that left tennis legend John McEnroe perplexed.
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Leading 2-0 in the second, Davis came to the net and furiously waved her arms in the air in an attempt to fend Davis off.
David remained unfazed, but McEnroe slammed Swiatek for the move.
“I don’t know about that,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s legal…it’s a little below the belt.
“The last time I saw that was when I was playing in 1986, I believe, and (Mansour) Bahrami came in and served, and opened his hands wide and said, ‘Hit me’. And my partner Peter Fleming punched him in the forehead. And I said, ‘He’s a joke, that guy! I don’t understand what he’s doing. This is serious.’
“And Bahrami was like ‘good shot Peter, good shot! He loved her. I don’t think Swiatek should do that.
“She’s as good as it looks…but she’ll learn. She’s 21 years old.
“It’s something you do in junior tennis. It’s not something you do if you’re No. 1 in the world.
Fans followed McEnroe’s lead, adding to the Polish star’s chorus of condemnation.
Swiatek trailed 1-4 at one point in the second set but came home strong to win five straight and advance to the knockout stages.
“I couldn’t find my rhythm today,” Swiatek said during his on-pitch interview after the match.
“I try to enjoy every game, even when it’s not perfect. I just try to go for it. Try to find solutions to every situation”.
Swiatek rode a 37-game winning streak earlier this year to claim titles at Roland Garros, Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome, but lost four matches during the hard-court season.
After three straight wins in straight sets in New York, the Pole will next face young German Jule Niemeier, who backed her run to the Wimbledon quarters by making the last 16 of her main draw debut here, beating China’s Zheng Qinwen 6 – 4 7-6 (7-5).
Veterans Kvitova and Azarenka win the Open
Elsewhere at Flushing Meadows, some of the veterans of the women’s game have turned back the clock to thrilling victories.
Petra Kvitova was inspired by Serena Williams to defeat Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and reach the fourth round.
A tense clash between the two former Grand Slam champions saw Kvitova save two match points to force a decisive tie-break, before eventually winning 5-7 6-3 7-6 (12-10) on Saturday.
“I didn’t want to get out of this tournament, so I was just there, somehow,” said the Czech, who was in tears at the end.
“She (Muguruza) was also playing aggressively. Me too… So I was trying to go with those first balls or those aces.”
Kvitova then meets eighth seeded USA Jessica Pegula after defeating China’s Yue Yuan 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-0.
“Petra is so difficult to play. I feel like when it’s on it blows you off the court,” Pegula said.
“And then sometimes, she can go away… She’s a fighter. When it clicks, it’s really difficult.
– With the AAP
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