Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka marches to semis

January 23, 2024
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Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday showcased her relentless power and precision to secure a spot in the semifinals of the Australian Open 2024 with a decisive 6-2, 6-3 victory over Barbora Krejcikova, here at the Rod Laver Arena

Melbourne, Jan 23 (IANS) Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday showcased her relentless power and precision to secure a spot in the semifinals of the Australian Open 2024 with a decisive 6-2, 6-3 victory over Barbora Krejcikova, here at the Rod Laver Arena.

Sabalenka’s performance was nothing short of clinical, as she unleashed 20 winners while committing just 13 unforced errors. The Belarusian powerhouse continued her dominant run in the tournament, reaching the last four by conceding a mere 16 games throughout her journey.

The ninth-seeded Krejcikova, a former Roland-Garros champion, found herself unable to disrupt the rhythm of the second-seeded Sabalenka, who exhibited an unyielding presence on the court.

Despite Krejcikova’s attempts to vary the pace and mix up her game, Sabalenka’s relentless power proved too much to handle. The Czech player won only 20 percent of points on her second serve, constantly under pressure from Sabalenka’s authoritative returns and accurate groundstrokes.

The first break came in the third game, highlighted by a brilliant backhand return followed by a powerful forehand from Sabalenka. Even with a brief comeback from Krejcikova, Sabalenka maintained her composure and swiftly regained control. Sabalenka’s variety was on display with a stunning drop shot in the fifth game, securing a 4-1 lead.

While Krejcikova managed to break back, Sabalenka responded immediately, showcasing her resilience. Sabalenka’s groundstrokes were delivered with such intensity that Krejcikova found herself consistently stretched behind the baseline, desperately attempting to return the ball in a defensive manner.

The first set concluded in just 33 minutes, with Sabalenka holding to love. The second set followed a similar pattern, as Sabalenka broke for a 2-1 lead after Krejcikova held serve. Despite a brief interruption for low-flying pigeons, Sabalenka maintained control, extending her lead to 4-1. Although Krejcikova managed to claw back one break, Sabalenka’s dominance was evident as she swiftly closed out the match.

While Krejcikova had previously defeated Sabalenka in Dubai 2023, the Belarusian’s transformation over the past year was evident. Sabalenka’s victory in the Australian Open last year marked a turning point, and she has since become a force to be reckoned with in the women’s tennis circuit.

–IANS

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