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Still undefeated! Surging Aryna Sabalenka powers into Australian Open semis

Aryna Sabalenka won against Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday night. She’ll face Pole Magda Linette in the next round

Aryna Sabalenka at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic Aryna Sabalenka at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic
Australian Open •Quarter-final • completed
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Aryna Sabalenka continued her jaw-dropping start to the 2023 season on Wednesday in Rod Laver Arena, pushing past Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 to reach her first semi-final at the Australian Open, and her fourth at the Grand Slem level.

Sabalenka, who has yet to drop a set at this year’s Australian Open – or all season for that matter – improves to 9-0 in 2023. The 24-year-old has dropped just 26 games through five matches in Melbourne at this Australian Open.

Sabalenka, ranked No 5, will play Poland’s Magda Linette next.

Clutch on break points

Sabalenka was rock solid under pressure, particularly in a very tense opening set. Overall she saved 12 of 14 break points, including nine of 10 in a very tense opening set that could have gone either way.

Vekic said that the bigger problem on her side of the court was protecting her own serve. Sabalenka won 5 of 13 break points and won 13 of 17 second-serve return points in the opening set, and 26 of 35 overall.

“I don’t think I can be disappointed or think too much about the break points because she played them really well,” Vekic said. “The only thing I can really be disappointed about and try to work on is my serve really let me down today. I was struggling a lot. First serve, second serve, I think I had quite a lot of double-faults, as well.”

Sabalenka ripped 38 winners and 35 unforced errors in the one hour and 49-minute contest; Vekic struck 21 winners against 25 unforced errors.

In a match of quick-strike points, only six rallies lasted nine or more shots. Sabalenka controlled the medium length points, winning 23 of 36 points between five and eight strokes.

The Belarusian beat Czech Tereza Martincova (6-1, 6-4), American Shelby Rogers (6-3, 6-1), Belgian Elise Mertens, the No 26 seed (6-2, 6-3) and Swiss Belinda Bencic, the No 12 seed (7-5, 6-2) in the previous rounds.

Earlier in the tournament, Vekic, ranked No 64, won against Russian qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva (6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7)), Russian Liudmila Samsonova, the No 18 seed (6-3, 6-0), Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz (6-2, 6-2) and Czech Linda Fruhvirtova (6-2, 1-6, 6-3).

Melbourne (Grand Slam), other last 8 results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24.297.942, most recent results first):

  • Magda Linette beat Karolina Pliskova (30): 6-3, 7-5
  • Victoria Azarenka (24) beat Jessica Pegula (3): 6-4, 6-1
  • Elena Rybakina (22) beat Jelena Ostapenko (17): 6-2, 6-4
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