US Open: Aryna Sabalenka breezes past Zheng Qinwen to reach semifinals
Aryna Sabalenka showed why she’s one of the favorites to win this year’s US Open after producing a dominant performance against Zheng Qinwen on Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
The world No. 2 breezed past the Chinese 20-year-old, winning 6-1 6-4 inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Zheng was no match for Sabalenka’s big serve and powerful shots, as the Belarusian comfortably cruised into the US Open’s final four.
After some early high-profile exits, Sabalenka is the highest seed left in the draw and looks like the player to beat.
“I think I definitely played great tennis today,” Sabalenka said in her on-court interview. “Super happy with the performance. I have myself another opportunity to do better in the semis.”
She will face either Wimbledon champion Markéta Vondroušová or American Madison Keys for a place in the final.
Iga Świątek’s early exit from the US Open means that, no matter what, Sabalenka will become the world No. 1 for the first time on Monday.
Her rise to the top of the world rankings comes after a remarkable year in which she’s won three titles, including her first grand slam at the Australian Open.
She continued that dominant form against Zheng in the quarterfinals, blowing her opponent away in an opening set that lasted just 27 minutes.
The break between sets allowed Zheng to regroup and she began growing into the match. The youngster more than held her own against Sabalenka as the pair exchanged service games at the start of the second set.
That was until the seventh game of the set when Sabalenka was able to break Zheng’s resilience to get her nose in front with a vital break of serve.
Try as she may, Zheng was not able to hit back and the Belarusian served out the match with ease.
It will be Sabalenka’s third consecutive US Open semifinal as she aims to claim a second grand slam title in 2023.
Sabalenka – who is into her fifth consecutive grand slam semifinal – has now won the first seven major quarterfinals of her career, second on the all-time list behind Chris Evert who, amazingly, won her first 48.