In-form Aryna Sabalenka swatted aside Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-1 7-6(4) to reach her second straight US Open semi-final on Wednesday.
The Belarusian underestimated her opponent in their two meetings last year, when Pliskova defeated her in the Wimbledon and Montreal semi-finals, but she was in dominant form in New York as she fired down seven aces and never dropped serve.
“Always tough matches against Karolina,” said Sabalenka. “The first set was really high level for me and (I) put a lot of pressure on her.”
Nothing went right for 2016 finalist Pliskova during the first set as she racked up 15 unforced errors and five double faults in 28 minutes.
But the Czech’s form improved considerably in the second set as she fended off the only break point she faced in the eighth game.
Sabalenka kept her cool in the tiebreak and raised her arms in triumph after sealing victory with a forehand winner on her second match point.
“In the second set, I knew she will kind of trying to come back and she will do better. I just tried to hold my serve and try to put her under pressure on her serve,” she told reporters. (Reuters)