Aryna Sabalenka, Madison Keys advance to U.S. Open semis
Aryna Sabalenka advances to her third consecutive U.S. Open semifinal with a straight-set victory, setting up a match against Madison Keys.
In a stunning display of dominance, Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, secured her place in the U.S. Open semifinals for the third consecutive year. Facing off against the 23rd seed, Qinwen Zheng of China, Sabalenka claimed a resounding 6-1, 6-4 victory on Wednesday in New York.
Looking ahead, the 25-year-old Belarusian will go head-to-head with Madison Keys, the 17th seed from the United States. Keys advanced to the semis after defeating the ninth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic with a score of 6-1, 6-4.
Sabalenka has been on a remarkable streak at Flushing Meadows, not dropping a single set throughout the tournament. In her quarterfinal match against Zheng, she showcased her impeccable skills, never allowing her opponent a break point opportunity. Reflecting on her performance, Sabalenka expressed her satisfaction, stating, "I think I definitely played great tennis today. Super happy with the performance. I have myself another opportunity to do better in the semis."
This season, Sabalenka has managed to reach the semifinals in all four Grand Slam events, an impressive feat. While she emerged victorious at the Australian Open, she faced defeat in the semifinals at both the French Open and Wimbledon. The last woman to achieve this remarkable feat was Serena Williams back in 2016.
Sabalenka wasted no time in asserting her dominance, swiftly taking control of the match in the sunny conditions. She won an astonishing 22 out of the first 27 points, establishing a commanding 5-0 lead. Throughout the match, she capitalized on 3 out of 7 break chances, including a crucial break in the second set's seventh game.
On the other side of the court, Zheng, a 20-year-old rising star, found herself in her first major quarterfinal. Despite her best efforts, she was unable to overcome Sabalenka's formidable presence, finishing the match with 13 winners and 16 unforced errors.
Sabalenka's previous U.S. Open campaigns ended in disappointment, with losses in the semifinals to Leylah Fernandez in 2021 and Iga Swiatek in 2022. However, she remains determined to make her mark this year and secure a spot in the final.
Meanwhile, Madison Keys, 28, is no stranger to the U.S. Open semifinals, having reached this stage for the third time in her career. In her sole Grand Slam final appearance, she fell short against Sloane Stephens in 2017. Additionally, she faced defeat in the semifinals against eventual champion Naomi Osaka of Japan in 2018.
In her quarterfinal match against Vondrousova, Keys demonstrated her prowess by winning the first five games of the match, comfortably taking the first set. The second set proved to be more closely contested, with Keys saving four break points to level the score at 4-4. However, she managed to secure the crucial service break to go up 5-4 and ultimately closed out the match on her third match point.
Throughout the match, Keys showcased her resilience, saving all nine break points she faced while capitalizing on all three of her own break opportunities.
As the semifinals draw near, both Sabalenka and Keys have proven themselves to be formidable contenders. With their sights set on the U.S. Open title, the stage is set for an exhilarating clash between these two talented athletes. Only time will tell who will emerge victorious and secure their place in the final.