Aryna Sabalenka defeated Donna Vekic in their Australian Open quarter-final on Wednesday. The fifth seed won 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 49 minutes. Despite the easy-looking score, the Croatian made Sabalenka work hard for the win.
Both players struggled to rein in their serve and accounted for 22 double faults collectively. Of these, 13 were hit by Vekic while Sabalenka had nine. Coming into the match, the 24-year-old had had 11 double faults in her last four matches. Despite having an erratic serving day, Sabalenka still found it within her to come up with nine aces that helped save several break points.
Australian Open: A maiden final on the line for Aryna Sabalenka, Magda Linette
The match was punctuated by Sabalenka trying to go for broke from the first game onwards and Vekic countering with variety. The unseeded player drew out the errors from Sabalenka but it still wasn’t enough as the larger raced away in the match.
Sabalenka had 38 winners and 35 unforced errors to Vekic’s 21 winners and 25 unforced errors. The most impactful stat of the match, however, was the break points each player saved. Sabalenka faced 14 break points and went on to save 12 of these. Vekic faced 13 with her opponent going on to break her serve on five occasions.
In the semi-final, Sabalenka will play Magda Linette. The Pole upset 30th seed Karolina Pliskova in their quarter-final at the start of the day, 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 27 minutes.
The Czech’s game didn’t stand up to Linette’s and she was quite often put on the backfoot by the Pole’s decisive play. In the first set, Pliskova was the one who broke to get the proceedings underway but she was pegged back. In the second set, the former world no. 1 faced a break point in almost each of her service games before surrendering it in the 11th game.
Both players had 18 winners each but Pliskova had 36 unforced errors while Linette finished with 16.
This is the first time both Aryna Sabalenka and Magda Linette have gone to the semi-final of the Australian Open. In fact, this is the first time Linette’s made it this far in a Major.
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