Sabalenka Sails Into 3rd Straight US Open SFs, Will Face Keys; Gauff v Muchova

by Staff | September 6th, 2023, 11:57 pm
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Aryna Sabalenka cruised into her third straight US Open semifinal dismissing Qinwen Zheng 6-1, 6-4 Wednesday.

“I think I definitely played great tennis today. I’m super happy with the win against her, she’s played unbelievable tennis this US Open,” said Sabalenka. “Super happy to give myself another opportunity to do better in the semis.”

The next World No. 1 dominated early with her power game — she lost just three points on first serve — before Zheng finally picked up her play in the second. Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, has now won her last 12 matches in hard court matches and 15 of her last 17 at the US Open.

The 20-year-old Zheng was appearing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“I will take some days off and try to refresh myself and put in the work again,” said Zheng. “The result, it’s not bad for me, but, honestly, in my mind, I really wanted to go farther. There is still a lot of room for me to improve. I have to go back and put some work in on my tennis.”

Sabelanka has never lost a Grand Slam quarterfinal winning all seven, and this week she hasn’t come close to dropping a set.

“We’re not losing, we’re learning,” Sabalenka added. “I just have a really strong belief that all those tough matches that I lost will help me in the future in other tough matches, other tough battles.”

Sabalenka will now take on fellow basher Madison Keys. Keys returned to her third US Open semifinal as well by snapping Marketa Vondrousova’s 11-match Grand Slam win streak 6-1, 6-4.

“I love playing here. In front of a home crowd, you feel like you can get out of any situation,” Keys said on court. “Whenever I walk on court here, I feel like I’m at home.”

The Czech was 0-for-9 on break points while Keys was 3-for-3.

“I’m always trying to play maybe longer balls and today I felt like I was under so much pressure from the first point,” Vondrousova said. “Yeah, there wasn’t so much to do, honestly. It was very tough.

“Even on my serve, when I put second serve I was under very much pressure.”

Sabalenka just beat Keys in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

“Almost a completely different match tomorrow. She’s playing unbelievably now. There’s a reason she’s going to be No. 1 in the world,” Keys said. “It’ll be a lot of hard hitting, not a lot of rallies. I’m just going to buckle up and get to as many balls as I can.”

Also tomorrow, Coco Gauff continues her march to a first Grand Slam title. The 19-year-old takes a 16-1 record over the summer into her rematch with Karolina Muchova. Gauff beat Muchova last month in the Cincinnati heat. But tomorrow night’s conditions should be cooler, though maybe stickier.

“I don’t really want to say all the keys with the tactics,” Muchova said. “So I’ll just focus on myself. She’s very athletic. She never gives up. Runs for every ball. Doesn’t do many mistakes. She has all the strokes.”

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