US Open 2023: Iga Swiatek sweeps Rebecca Peterson aside in flying start to Flushing Meadows defence

US Open 2023: Iga Swiatek sweeps Rebecca Peterson aside in flying start to Flushing Meadows defence

Iga Swiatek began the defence of her US Open in typical style as she ripped past Rebecca Peterson, 6-0, 6-1 at Flushing Meadows.

The world number one, chasing her fifth Grand Slam title, raced to victory over Peterson in less than an hour and now plays the Australian, Daria Saville.

“I really wanted to start solid and start the tournament with everything I have been focusing on in practice,” Swiatek said. “Happy I could play such a great game and that with all the pressure and expectations, I can have fun on the court.”

The first set went by in a flash as Swiatek racked up her 40th bagel set in the past two years, the first woman to do that since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles in 1991 and 1992.

Peterson has been ranked as high as No 43 in the past but she had no answer to the power and precision of Swiatek, the Pole storming through the opener.

The Swede had two break points in the first game of the second set but couldn’t take them and though she got on the board with a hold of serve for 1-1, that was the only joy she had.

“I just try to remind myself that I want to develop as a player, that’s the most important thing,” Swiatek said. “All the numbers and statistics don’t really matter, I just want to play my game no matter what.”

There was an early surprise in the women’s event, though, when eighth seed Maria Sakkari was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Rebeka Masarova of Spain, her third straight first-round defeat at a Grand Slam event.

Former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, 10th seed Karolina Muchova and No 15 Belinda Bencic were among the early women to progress to round two.

On the men’s side of the draw, fourth seed Holger Rune was knocked out in a major upset.

The Dane was angered ahead of his first-round match at being put on Court 5, as he tweeted a map of Flushing Meadows and sarcastically commented “in case you [can’t] find Court 5, this is where I play my first match Monday”. Those that were in attendance Roberto Carballes Baena beat Rune 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Former champion Dominic Thiem showed more signs of a return to form as he beat 15th seed Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to record his first victory in a major since the 2021 Australian Open.

“It was amazing,” Thiem said. “Today is pretty special, I haven’t won a Grand Slam match since Australia 2021, so that’s a very long time.

“I couldn’t have wished for a better place like here, with all the memories and past experiences here. I’m super happy. I feel like I’m back on track.”