In-form Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic was defeated by Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 7-6(4) on Wednesday to advance to her second consecutive US Open semi-final.
The Belarusian underestimated Pliskova in their two previous encounters, which Pliskova won in the Wimbledon and Montreal semifinals. However, in New York, the Czech player was in imperious form as she blasted down seven aces and never dropped service.
Karolina is always a tough opponent, according to Sabalenka. I put a lot of pressure on her during the first set since it was at a fairly high level for me.
The 2016 finalist Pliskova struggled mightily in the opening set, committing 15 unforced errors and five double faults in just 28 minutes.
The Czech, though, played much better in the second set as she saved the lone break point she came up against in the eighth game.
On her second match point, Sabalenka won with a forehand winner to secure the victory. She maintained her composure throughout the tiebreak and lifted her arms in celebration.
“I anticipated that she would make an effort to improve in the second set and try to come back. She said to reporters, “I simply wanted to hold my serve and try to put her under pressure on her serve.
Before leaving for New York, Sabalenka claimed she entirely redesigned her serve and expanded her coaching team to address “biomechanic problems.”
She remarked, “Right now I’m just trying to place my serve on the large targets. I’m not shooting for aces.”
“I’m prepared for another battle, and I believe all I need to do is keep my attention on myself.”
After defeating Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, in the fourth round in New York, Pliskova gave the impression that she was in good shape and told reporters that she didn’t really know why she struggled in the opening set.