Swiatek cements rapid rise to top with US Open crown
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Iga Swiatek's victory at the US Open on Saturday marked the latest milestone on a rapid ascent through the ranks of women's tennis to the pinnacle of her sport.
The 21-year-old from Poland cemented her status as world number one after becoming the first woman in six years to win two Grand Slam titles in a season, her US Open crown following her second French Open title at Roland Garros in June.
Swiatek's third career Grand Slam singles title is confirmation of a talent that has been evident since she first picked up a tennis racquet at the encouragement of her father, a former rower who competed at the 1988 Olympics for Poland.
Jerzy Rozek, a neighbour of the Swiatek family in their village of Raszyn just outside of Warsaw, remembers the tennis star as a "very good, calm kid" who rapidly became devoted to her sport.
"You could see how it drew her in. And she made progress. She really got into tennis and demonstrated commitment – because after all it's work, work, work," Rozek said.
"Her dad drove her to school and then tennis practice, and now we're seeing the results."
Swiatek flourished as a junior, winning back-to-back titles as a 13-year-old on the ITF circuit in 2015 before reaching the last eight at the junior French Open the following year.
In 2018, she won her first junior Grand Slam, winning Wimbledon as an unseeded player after upsetting the top seed in the first round.
In her first season on the WTA Tour in 2019, Swiatek reached the second round of the Australian Open before making her first WTA Tour final in Lugano at the age of 17.