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Sabalenka sinks out-of-sorts Krejcikova in US Open quarter-finals

A semi-finalist at Wimbledon, Aryna Sabalenka is through to the same stage at the US Open following Tuesday night’s 6-1, 6-4 rout of Barbora Krejcikova. Next up, 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez

Aryna Sabalenka Aryna Sabalenka AI / REUTERS / PANORAMIC
  • What happened: Aryna Sabalenka made quick work of Barbora Krejcikova to reach a second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final
  • You will also learn: Krejcikova had nothing left, physically, after struggling with cramps in her previous match
  • Why you should read this: Next up for Sabalenka is an intriguing semi-final matchup with Leylah Fernandez

Aryna Sabalenka is spending this summer putting away her Grand Slam demons of the past.

The only question now is: to what extent?

Sabalenka was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon and she is now through to the same stage at the US Open following Tuesday night’s 6-1, 6-4 rout of Barbora Krejcikova. The world No 2 need only one hour and 26 minutes to defeat Krejcikova, who captured an improbable French Open title this spring.

Krejickova can’t recover from quarterfinal-final win

Krejcikova barely survived her second set against Garbine Muguruza on Sunday night, when the Czech prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (4) after taking a medical timeout for an apparent breathing issue prior to the last two games. Even after winning the tiebreak, Krejcikova had to be helped off the court and was unable to do any interviews — post-match or even a press conference.

Two days later, the 25-year-old once again looked less than 100 percent. Although there was no obvious problem, she served at a shocking 38 percent and had more double-faults (five) than aces (four). The No 8 seed also finished with more than twice as many unforced errors (29) as winners (14).

Sabalenka, who had never even advanced to a major quarter-final prior to Wimbledon, had no trouble taking advantage. The Belarusian made up for a poor serving performance of her own (57 percent, seven double-faults) by breaking her opponent four times.

“Second (slam) semifinal, and hopefully I can keep it up,” the 23-year-old commented. “That’s amazing. I’m really proud of myself and I’m really proud of my team that they (are) always working, they (are) always trying to find things where I can improve. This is what I am mostly proud of.

“So, yeah, I’m here in the semi-final and I have another chance to show my best and to show my level on the court.”

Leylah Fernandez next up for Sabalenka

It’s hard to see Sabalenka having a similarly routine time in the semi-finals. Awaiting her on Thursday is teenage sensation Leylah Fernandez. The Canadian, who just turned 19 on Monday, has already taken out Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina.

“I was following her [matches],” Sabalenka said. “Yeah, she’s playing well, moving well. I would say it’s nothing to lose for her. She’s a great player. She’s fighting for every point. The crowd [is] there and they are supporting her really loud.

“It will be interesting one. Really looking forward for this match.”

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