Aryna Sabalenka crushed Zheng Qinwen 6-1 6-4 to reach her fifth straight Grand Slam semi-final and end the 23rd seed’s run at the US Open on Wednesday.
The second seed from Belarus will take over from Iga Swiatek at the top of the rankings on Monday, ending the Pole’s 75-week reign.
Following a commanding win, Sabalenka became the only active woman to reach the semi-finals at all four majors in one year since Serena Williams in 2016.
“I’m super happy with the win against her… super happy with the performance,” said Sabalenka, who lost in the semi-finals in her previous two US Open appearances.
“I’m going to do everything I can to stay until the end.”
Sabalenka pummelled her Chinese opponent with 17 winners and never faced a break point.
She continued: “Of course I’m happy [to be world No 1] and it’s really important for me and my family but I have some things to do in New York! I’m trying to focus on my game and will think about being world No 1 after the US Open.”
Zheng had never made it to a major quarter-final and endured a miserable time against the Australian Open winner, as she was unable to get much power off her serve. The Belarusian forced her into 23 errors.
Sabalenka will play the winner of a match between American Madison Keys and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.
How Sabalenka surged into the semi-finals…
Zheng, 20, won just four of the first 24 points of the match as Sabalenka raced into a 5-0 lead before wrapping up the first set in only 27 minutes.
The Chinese player improved her level in the second set, forcing Sabalenka back, and she showed finesse to triumph in an exquisite 21-shot rally in the fifth game.
But she helped Sabalenka to the break with a double fault and two unforced errors in the seventh game and never recovered, sending a backhand into the net on match point.
The 25-year-old has dropped just 21 games in the 10 sets she has played over five rounds in New York.
Navratilova: Sabalenka was outstanding
Sky Sports analyst Martina Navratilova was impressed with Sabalenka’s win, saying: “She played outstanding from the get-go. She got off to a quick start and never looked back.
“She just dominated from the first point to the last. Even with a double fault when serving for the match, no big deal, she serves a big serve on the next point.”
Zheng vs Sabalenka: Tale of the Tape
|63%||1st serve win percentage||88%|
|52%||2nd serve win percentage||68%|
|0/0||Break points won||3/7|
|35||Total points won||56|
The US Open on Sky Sports
Sky welcomes tennis back to its channels, adding to the existing sports portfolio and reaffirming the broadcaster as the home of live sport in the UK & Ireland.
Sky Sports’ new mixed reality studio features multiple custom built LED screens, integrated light ‘sabres’, and an open canopy roof, making the space alive with colour and energy to reflect the vibrancy of the last Grand Slam of the year.
With integrated AR capabilities, a versatile LED floor, and a ‘fourth wall’, the viewer will be transported to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in a 360-degree immersive environment. Our tennis experts will take the viewer into the eyes of the players for expert Hawkeye analysis and insight as the tournament progresses.
The technology involved allows us to add an entire new dimension and will bring customers closer to the action.
Highlights of matches will be available across Sky Sports TV and our social media platforms.
Video highlights will also be available of the Sky Sports website and app, where there will also be a daily live text commentary on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as live scores, reports, analysis and features.
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