Iga Swiatek reached her third Grand Slam semi-final of 2022 on Wednesday, and her first at the US Open, with an error-strewn victory over Jessica Pegula, the tournament’s last remaining American woman.
Swiatek won her third match against Pegula this year, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
That will be a difficult match. Just like tonight, there will be some fast serves and heavy hitting “Swiatek defeated Sabalenka in Doha, Stuttgart, and Rome.
The Pole went on to win the titles at those events, accounting for three of her six trophies in 2022.
She advanced from a mistake-plagued quarter-final on Wednesday, which featured 13 breaks of serve and a total of 61 unforced errors.
“Being in the semi-finals for the first time means a lot,” Swiatek said.
Swiatek overcame giving up the first break of the match in the fifth game to win the first set in 38 minutes by scoring 16 of the next 18 points.
In the first eight games of an unruly second set, the pair traded three service breaks each.
The French Open champion carved out the seventh break on a net cord, allowing herself to serve for the match.
‘I have low expectations.’
Pegula fought hard to stay alive before a double fault on break point in the 11th game gave Swiatek a second chance to advance to the semi-finals.
The top seed failed once more, as Pegula grabbed the 10th break to force a tiebreak, which the Pole dominated.
“I am very happy because I worked very hard but kept my expectations low,” the top seed said.
Sabalenka advanced to the semi-finals for the second year in a row, fueled by the lingering and bitter aftertaste of her Wimbledon ban.
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 took away one chance from me, so I worked really hard for this one,” Sabalenka explained.
She admitted that during her forced break from the sport, she made a concerted effort not to watch any of this year’s grass-court Grand Slams while training in Miami.
‘I’m just an athlete.’
“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.
Without facing a break point, the 24-year-old world number six Sabalenka fired seven aces and 30 winners past Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up in New York.
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.
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