US Open: Aryna Sabalenka too good for Zheng Qinwen as she charges into third-straight New York semi-final | Tennis News

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.

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Sabalenka says she still has ‘things to do in New York’ before officially becoming world No 1 on Monday

“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

Zheng Match Stats Sabalenka
4 Aces 3
1 Double Faults 3
63% 1st serve win percentage 88%
52% 2nd serve win percentage 68%
0/0 Break points won 3/7
13 Total winners 17
16 Unforced errors 12
35 Total points won 56

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