No.1 seed Iga Swiatek kicked off her title defense at the US Open with a 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Sweden's Rebecca Peterson in 58 minutes.
The result was Swiatek's third win in as many meetings with No.86-ranked Peterson, who was coming off a quarterfinal showing in last week's Chicago WTA 125 event. Swiatek extended her 2023 record to 54-9; ahead of the US Open, she claimed a title on home soil in Warsaw before back-to-back semifinal runs in Montreal and Cincinnati.
The World No.1 will next face Daria Saville, who was equally impressive in dismissing Wimbledon junior champion Clervie Ngounoue 6-0, 6-2 in 73 minutes. Former World No.20 Saville made her comeback from an ACL injury in June after being sidelined for nine months.
Here are the key numbers behind Swiatek's win.
20 - Winners struck by the Pole, compared to just two for Peterson. Throughout the match, Swiatek's tactic of targeting the Peterson backhand paid dividends, either by drawing the error or by opening the court for a series of lethal backhands down the line of her own. A pair of exquisite drop shots in the second set also showcased Swiatek's variety.
18 - The opening set was the 18th set that Swiatek has won 6-0 in 2023, and her second of the North American summer hard court swing following her 6-1, 6-0 second-round defeat of Danielle Collins in Cincinnati. She has now won 41 sets 6-0 over the past two seasons -- the first player to achieve this since Monica Seles and Stefanie Graf in 1991-92.
3 - The number of break points faced by Swiatek in the match, which came in a row in the first game of the second set. She fended them off with a forehand one-two punch, a service winner and a Peterson unforced error. In total, Swiatek lost seven points behind her first serve and five behind her second serve.
16 - The result marked Swiatek's 16th consecutive straight-sets first-round victory at a Grand Slam dating back to Wimbledon 2019, where she lost 6-2, 7-6(3) to Viktorija Golubic -- to date, still the only Grand Slam first-round exit of her career.
16 - Iga Swiatek has won her last 16 Grand Slam First Rounds, with only 4.2 games dropped on average per match:— OptaAce (@OptaAce) August 28, 2023
🇺🇸2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣ 6-0 6-1 ✅
🇦🇺2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ 6-3 6-2 ✅
🇺🇸2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ 6-3 6-3 ✅
🇫🇷2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ 6-1 6-2 ✅
🇦🇺2⃣0⃣2⃣1⃣ 6-1 6-3 ✅
🇫🇷2⃣0⃣2⃣1⃣ 6-0 7-5 ✅
🇬🇧2⃣0⃣2⃣1⃣ 6-4 6-4 ✅
7 - The total number of games that Swiatek has lost to Peterson in three encounters so far. The pair have now played at three of the four majors, with Swiatek winning 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of Roland Garros 2021 and 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of the 2022 Australian Open.
31 - Swiatek has won 31 out of 34 Grand Slam matches since ascending to World No.1 in March 2022. She has equaled Justine Henin, who registered the same number of wins from her first 34 Grand Slam matches as World No.1. The only players with a better record from their first 34 matches as a World No.1 in a major since 1984 are Serena Williams, Seles, Graf (33 wins out of 34), Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis (32 wins out of 34).
3 - For the third major in a row, Swiatek enters with her World No.1 ranking under threat from Aryna Sabalenka. She needs to reach one round further than the Australian Open champion to hold on to the top spot.