Sabalenka demolishes Krejcikova to reach US Open semis

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New York, Sep 8 (IANS) Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus breezed into her second Grand Slam semifinal in a row by defeating No.8 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-4, under lights at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.

World No.2 Sabalenka, who made her first major semifinal at Wimbledon earlier in the summer, dispatched this year’s French Open champion Krejcikova, guaranteeing a first-time Grand Slam champion at this year’s US Open.

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Sabalenka had required over two hours fending off Krejcikova in three sets in their only prior meeting, which came on the indoor hardcourts of Linz during the latter part of the last season. But this time around, the Belarusian had no problems with an 86-minute victory.

Both players had won 42 tour-level matches coming into their clash, and with the victory, Sabalenka is now the current match win leader on the WTA, with 43. Krejcikova is tied with world No.1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia in second place.

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Sabalenka demonstrated here power game as she won most of her points when getting her first delivery into play.

Sabalenka was also overwhelming on return, collecting over half of Krejcikova’s service points and converting four of her 10 break points in the affair. Sabalenka’s 21 winners outnumbered Krejcikova’s 14, and the No.2 seed also had six fewer unforced errors than the Czech.

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“Second [major] semifinal, and hopefully I can keep it up,” Sabalenka said after her win. “That’s amazing. I’m really proud of myself, and I’m really proud of my team that they’re always working, they’re always trying to find things where I can improve. This is what I am mostly proud of.” The Belarusian told wtatennis.com.

“I’m not really thinking about the draw, like how far can I go,” Sabalenka continued. “I just start enjoying every match. It sounds simple, but with all the things going around, it’s not easy to focus on each match, to enjoy it, to enjoy every fight, every challenge. This is everything I changed, I would say. My focus is step by step. It’s working well.”

“During the match I’m not really focusing on the problem,” said Sabalenka. “I’m focusing on what should I do to win this match. I’m not really panicking or stressing about it. I’m just trying to stay smart and professional. I think this is what helped me today to win this match.”

Three double faults in the very first game of the match were a dampener for Sabalenka, but she still held serve, before breaking Krejcikova with a stunning overhead to lead 2-0.

Krejcikova immediately pulled back on serve in the following game, but Sabalenka reclaimed her advantage by firing a backhand past the Czech to break for 3-1.

In the semifinals, Sabalenka will take on Leylah Fernandez of Canada. It will be the first meeting between Sabalenka and Fernandez.

World No.73 Fernandez notched her third top-20 win in a row when she stunned No.5 seed Elina Svitolina via a third-set tiebreak. Prior to that win, Fernandez had defeated former World No.1 players and US Open champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber back-to-back.

–IANS

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