US Open: Aryna Sabalenka too good for Zheng Qinwen as she charges into third-straight New York semi-final | Tennis News

Aryna Sabalenka crushed Zheng Qinwen 6-1 6-4 to reach her fifth straight Grand Slam semi-final and end the 23rd seed’s run at the US Open on Wednesday.

The second seed from Belarus will take over from Iga Swiatek at the top of the rankings on Monday, ending the Pole’s 75-week reign.

Following a commanding win, Sabalenka became the only active woman to reach the semi-finals at all four majors in one year since Serena Williams in 2016.

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Sabalenka says she still has ‘things to do in New York’ before officially becoming world No 1 on Monday

“I’m super happy with the win against her… super happy with the performance,” said Sabalenka, who lost in the semi-finals in her previous two US Open appearances.

“I’m going to do everything I can to stay until the end.”

Sabalenka pummelled her Chinese opponent with 17 winners and never faced a break point.

She continued: “Of course I’m happy [to be world No 1] and it’s really important for me and my family but I have some things to do in New York! I’m trying to focus on my game and will think about being world No 1 after the US Open.”

Zheng had never made it to a major quarter-final and endured a miserable time against the Australian Open winner, as she was unable to get much power off her serve. The Belarusian forced her into 23 errors.

Sabalenka will play the winner of a match between American Madison Keys and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

How Sabalenka surged into the semi-finals…

Zheng, 20, won just four of the first 24 points of the match as Sabalenka raced into a 5-0 lead before wrapping up the first set in only 27 minutes.

The Chinese player improved her level in the second set, forcing Sabalenka back, and she showed finesse to triumph in an exquisite 21-shot rally in the fifth game.

But she helped Sabalenka to the break with a double fault and two unforced errors in the seventh game and never recovered, sending a backhand into the net on match point.

The 25-year-old has dropped just 21 games in the 10 sets she has played over five rounds in New York.

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Sabalenka is not thinking about being top of the rankings and just concentrating on the US Open

Navratilova: Sabalenka was outstanding

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Martina Navratilova said that Sabalenka was ‘outstanding’ as she eased into the US Open semi-finals

Sky Sports analyst Martina Navratilova was impressed with Sabalenka’s win, saying: “She played outstanding from the get-go. She got off to a quick start and never looked back.

“She just dominated from the first point to the last. Even with a double fault when serving for the match, no big deal, she serves a big serve on the next point.”

Zheng vs Sabalenka: Tale of the Tape

Zheng Match Stats Sabalenka
4 Aces 3
1 Double Faults 3
63% 1st serve win percentage 88%
52% 2nd serve win percentage 68%
0/0 Break points won 3/7
13 Total winners 17
16 Unforced errors 12
35 Total points won 56

Speaking about ending Swiatek’s reign at the top of the rankings, Sabalenka added: “You know, I’m super happy with this achievement in my career, but, I mean, it’s not a big change.

“You know, I mean, I have been No 2, now I’m No 1. It’s just a difference of position in the draw. I still have to bring my best tennis. I still have to play my best. People will try to chase me and get me.

“But it just an extra motivation for me. You know, seeing them, like, really trying their best to beat me, it’s, like, an extra power and energy for me to keep playing, keep pushing, keep getting better.”

Sabalenka to face American Keys for spot in final

Madison Keys confidently swatted aside Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-4 to reach the semi-finals, fending off all nine break points she faced across the match.

The 2017 finalist Keys suffered a handful of early exits from her domestic Grand Slam in recent years but has excelled in New York and appeared right at home in prime time under the bright lights.

“I just love it here. I love playing here. In front of a home crowd you can never feel like you can’t get out of any situation,” Keys said.

“I knew I was going to have to keep trying to get to the net, be aggressive.”

The match got off to an unusual start as the chair umpire was forced to stop play midway through the first game for several minutes when a spectator needed medical attention.

Keys was clearly not rattled by the incident and began her demolition once play resumed, breaking Vondrousova to love in the second game and converting on another break point chance with a fine forehand winner in the fourth.

Vondrousova upped her level across the board in the second set, improving her serve considerably, but was unable to seize the momentum and left to rue missed opportunities as she failed to convert on five break points in the eighth game alone.

Keys broke her opponent in the next game and let out a cheer as she forced Vondrousova into a backhand error on match point.

The US Open on Sky Sports

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Watch the US Open live and exclusive on Sky Sports up until September 10. All courts will be available to watch for the first time

Sky welcomes tennis back to its channels, adding to the existing sports portfolio and reaffirming the broadcaster as the home of live sport in the UK & Ireland.

Sky Sports’ new mixed reality studio features multiple custom built LED screens, integrated light ‘sabres’, and an open canopy roof, making the space alive with colour and energy to reflect the vibrancy of the last Grand Slam of the year.

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Relive Andy Murray’s rollercoaster career at the US Open, which saw him claim his maiden major title in 2012

With integrated AR capabilities, a versatile LED floor, and a ‘fourth wall’, the viewer will be transported to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in a 360-degree immersive environment. Our tennis experts will take the viewer into the eyes of the players for expert Hawkeye analysis and insight as the tournament progresses.

The technology involved allows us to add an entire new dimension and will bring customers closer to the action.

Highlights of matches will be available across Sky Sports TV and our social media platforms.

Video highlights will also be available of the Sky Sports website and app, where there will also be a daily live text commentary on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as live scores, reports, analysis and features.

Stream the US Open on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel anytime.


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