Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarussian players, including world number six Sabalenka, were unable to compete at the All England Club.

Sabalenka of Belarus was denied the opportunity to improve on her semi-final performance in 2021 due to the ban.

They robbed me of one opportunity, so I worked extra hard for this one “Sabalenka said after defeating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

Pliskova defeated her in last year’s Wimbledon semi-finals.

Sabalenka, on the other hand, admitted that she made a concerted effort not to watch any of this year’s grass-court Grand Slams while training in Miami during her forced break from the sport.

“I’m just an athlete,” she explained, “and I have nothing to do with politics.”

“It was a difficult time, especially when I was working out in the gym and Wimbledon was on TV.

“I used to turn it off because I couldn’t stand watching it.”

Belarusian players were barred from competing at Wimbledon because Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has allowed Moscow to launch attacks into Ukraine from its territory.

Sabalenka, 24, will compete for a spot in Saturday’s US Open final against either world number one and French Open champion Iga Swiatek or Jessica Pegula of the United States.

Without facing a break point, world number six Sabalenka fired seven aces and 30 winners past Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up in New York.

“I was expecting a fantastic level with long rallies. I wanted to stay in the game and force her to work “Sabalenka stated.

The Belarussian has lost three straight sets to Swiatek in 2022, despite a 3-1 career advantage over Pegula.

“They are both formidable opponents. I’ll have to fight and give it my all. I’m prepared for a fierce battle, “She continued.

Sabalenka is capitalising on her incredible second-round comeback in New York, when she saved two match points against Kaia Kanepi after falling behind a set and 1-5.

She sped through the first set on Wednesday in just 28 minutes, thanks to three service breaks.

Pliskova, 30, had just one winner in the first set and served up five double faults.

Czech Republic’s world ranking is 22. Pliskova saved two break points in the eighth game of the second set, but Sabalenka’s powerful drive to the final four was unstoppable.

“There aren’t many rallies where you can get that better feeling when she’s playing like she is. She was providing excellent service “Pliskova admitted.

Swiatek is the first Polish woman to reach the last eight in New York in the modern era, and she is the only remaining player who has won a major title.

In 2022, the Pole defeated Pegula twice in her title-winning runs at Miami and Roland Garros.

Swiatek also has a season-high 54 match wins, which has resulted in six trophies.

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