NEW YORK -- Facing the prospect of playing defending champion Iga Swiatek in the second round of the US Open, Australia's Daria Saville struck the perfect balance of humor and confidence.
"The biggest goal," Saville said, laughing, "is not to get double-bageled.
"I think I can still make her life very uncomfortable and I will just play free and see what happens."
Saville made good on her promises on Wednesday, acquitting herself well to force the World No.1 to prove her resilience. And resilient Swiatek was, winning the match 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the third round where she will face her good friend, Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan, for a spot in the Round of 16.
"For sure it wasn't easy," Swiatek said on court. "The rhythm of the match was kind of weird."
How the match was won: Swiatek came into the match having won the only previous encounter against Saville, a 6-3, 6-3 win during her 2022 Adelaide title run. Saville put to rest any thoughts of a whitewash in the very first game, breaking Swiatek for a 1-0 lead.
But as would be the pattern throughout the match, for every break, there was a rebreak. Swiatek quickly cleaned up her baseline game to break back to 1-1 and eventually lead 4-2, but Saville continued to mix up her pace and angles to get back on serve at 4-3. Finally, Swiatek put her foot down and reeled off the last two games of the opening set to move ahead.
Saville's inability to hold serve would continue to undo her great return games. While she landed near 70 percent of her first serves for the match, she won just 1 of 18 second-serve points. The second set remained tight through the first four games before Swiatek broke for a fifth time and protected her lead through the finish line.
Next up: Swiatek owns a 2-0 record against Juvan, with their last match coming at 2021 Roland Garros. Swiatek won 6-0, 7-5.
"She's my best friend on tour," Swiatek said. "She's one of the most honest and, I think, smart people on tour.
"I'm happy that she's my friend, but yeah, we've got to play against each other. It's a tricky situation, but I think we both know how to be professional and just play the match and that's all."
After notching three wins during qualifying, Juvan is into the third round of the US Open for the first time. Ranked No.145, she ousted No.29 seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the first round and rallied from a set down to defeat Lauren Davis in the second round.
"I was struggling a little bit the last few years on fast hard courts," Juvan said. "Now we are working on this game. This is my first hard-court tournament since March. Before this tournament, we talked about how I have to stay patient with the things we're working on, with the movement. My coach is really good at explaining to me how to move economically.
"I think the most important thing for me is to have the right attitude and to try and fight and believe that I can be here and play with these girls."
Swiatek and Juvan have been good friends since their junior days and had dinner together earlier this week.
"I think it's great that we are connected and we have a good friendship," Juvan said. "She's always supporting me and I'm always supporting her. I think that's very nice from the personal side.
"But from the tennis side, I think it's very positive in the sense that she is No.1, so when we talk, she understands. And it's a good showing of where your level is. She's No.1 for a reason, with her tennis, and I think it's going to be a good challenge. I'm trying to have the right attitude, fight for every point, and let's see where I stand."