Aryna Sabalenka continued her extraordinary 2021 form to brush Barbora Krejcikova aside in the quarter-finals of the US Open.
The Belarusian star overwhelmed her Czech opponent with the power game that helped her reach the last four of Wimbledon earlier this summer, running out a convincing 6-1 6-4 winner under the light son Arthur Ashe.
It was Sabalenka’s returning game that proved the dominant feature of the match, with the 23-year-old winning over half the points on her opponent’s serve.
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"It’s my second semi-final, and hopefully I can keep it up," Sabalenka said after her win.
"I'm really proud of myself, and I'm really proud of my team that they're always working, they're always trying to find things where I can improve. This is what I am mostly proud of."
Earlier in the day, Leylah Fernandez withstood a fightback from Elina Svitolina to set up an intriguing meeting with Sabalenka in the last four and guarantee that there will be a new Grand Slam champion in New York.
The Canadian teenager arrived in New York as the world number 75, but she took the event by storm to race into the quarter finals - beating Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber on the way to the last eight.
Number five seed Svitolina was expected to be a bridge too far, but Fernandez proved she is an elite player in the making by getting the better of a major battle 6-3 3-6 7-6(5).
Fernandez was deeply impressive with her play from the back of the court, showing tremendous movement and powerful hitting to shock her opponent.
The 19-year-old, who celebrated her birthday the previous day, took charge of the first set early on - with her forehand dominating the exchanges from the baseline.
Leylah Fernandez - US Open 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
Svitolina shrugged off the loss of the first set to fight back in the second. It was not smooth sailing, as breaks of serve were traded, but impeccable length from the back of the court allowed her to dominate.
The Ukrainian came under pressure when serving for the second set, and staved off a break point with a brilliant crosscourt forehand on the run. She let out a roar of delight and served out two points later to level the match.
Svitolina appeared in the ascendancy, but breaks were traded as both came under pressure on their second serves.
Fernandez broke for a second time in the deciding set to edge ahead, as Svitolina directed her frustrations the way of her support camp.
Svitolina held up her end of the bargain by holding serve in the eighth game to ask Fernandez to serve out.
There were nerves, as demonstrated by a double fault. Svitolina threw some bombs from the baseline, and was able to force the break to take the match to a tiebreak - which was fitting for such a battle.
The tiebreak mirrored the match, as it see-sawed both ways. The key moment came at 5-5 in the breaker, as Fernandez found a stunning pass down the line to set up match point.
Fernandez kept her cool, and was able to celebrate victory when Svitolina sent a forehand over the baseline.
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