Aryna Sabalenka Beats Zheng Qinwen And Reaches Semi-Finals
In her third consecutive year, Second seed Aryna Sabalenka secured a spot in the US Open semi-finals with a commanding victory over China’s 23rd seed, Zheng Qinwen. Sabalenka, who recently learned she will become the new world number one after the tournament, clinched the match with a score of 6-1, 6-4.
Hailing from Belarus and at 25 years old, Sabalenka has never advanced to the New York final before. Her next opponent will be 2017 runner-up Madison Keys, who defeated Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova with a score of 6-1, 6-4.
Sabalenka expressed her satisfaction with her performance, stating, “I think I definitely played great tennis today and I’m super happy to win. She has played great tennis at the US Open.” She reflected on her past semi-final defeats against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Poland’s Iga Swiatek, saying, “Now I have the opportunity to do better in the semis. I have learned [since the previous semi-finals] that I am ready to play these rallies and stay in the game and the point now. I also focused on my physical abilities and am getting less tired on court. I am ready to play wherever I need to play now.”
Sabalenka, who was considered a pre-tournament favorite alongside defending champion Swiatek, demonstrated her title potential with her consistent form throughout the year and previous success on the US Open hard courts. Swiatek’s exit in the last 16 further boosted Sabalenka’s prospects of securing her second major title.
Having reached the semi-finals of all four majors in 2023, Sabalenka became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2016 to achieve this remarkable feat. Although American sixth seed Coco Gauff appears formidable in the other side of the draw, Sabalenka’s convincing victory over Zheng in the quarter-finals provided further evidence of her championship credentials.
Sabalenka had not dropped a set in the tournament before this match, having lost just 16 games in her previous four encounters. She displayed her confidence right from the start by winning the first seven points, establishing an early break. Sabalenka allowed her opponent to win just four points as she surged to a 5-0 lead, ultimately winning the first set in just 27 minutes.
Zheng, a rising star on the WTA Tour, eventually settled into her first major quarter-final but couldn’t match Sabalenka’s dominance. The second set was more closely contested, with Sabalenka securing a crucial break in the sixth game. After Zheng saved a match point on her serve, Sabalenka capitalized on a second opportunity in the following game when Zheng hit a backhand into the net, sealing her victory in a brisk one hour and 13 minutes.
Sabalenka’s next challenge will be the 17th seed, Madison Keys, who made relatively quick work of Czech Vondrousova on a humid evening in New York. Keys asserted herself early, breaking the ninth seed Vondrousova at the first opportunity and surging to a 5-0 lead before closing out the set. The second set was more competitive, but Keys excelled in critical moments, saving all nine break points she faced and capitalizing on her powerful forehand to secure the win.
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