US Open 2023 results: Aryna Sabalenka beats Zheng Qinwen to reach semi-finals

Aryna Sabalenka is chasing a second Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open in January

US Open 2023

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September

Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentaries across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka reached the US Open semi-finals for the third successive year with a dominant win over Chinese 23rd seed Zheng Qinwen.

Sabalenka, who learned earlier this week she will be the new world number one after the tournament, won 6-1 6-4.

The 25-year-old from Belarus has never gone on to play in the New York final.

Sabalenka will meet the winner of the last quarter-final between Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova and American Madison Keys.

Czech ninth seed Vondrousova and Keys, who was the 2017 runner-up at her home Grand Slam, play in Wednesday’s night session, which starts at 19:00 local time (00:00 BST, Thursday).

“I think I definitely played great tennis today and I’m super happy to win, she has played great tennis at the US Open,” said Sabalenka, whose previous semi-final defeats came against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

“Now I have the opportunity to do better in the semis.

“I have learned [since the previous semi-finals] that I am ready to play these rallies and stay in the game and the point now. “I also focused on my physical abilities and am getting less tired on court. I am ready to play wherever I need to play now.”

Confident Sabalenka underlines title credentials

Sabalenka was considered the pre-tournament favourite alongside defending champion Swiatek at the final Grand Slam event of the season, by virtue of her superb form throughout the year and previous pedigree on the US Open hard courts.

Top seed Swiatek being ousted in the last 16 by Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko offered further belief for those backing Sabalenka that she can go on to win her second major title.

The Australian Open champion has reached the semi-finals of all four majors in 2023, becoming the first woman since Serena Williams in 2016 to achieve the feat.

While American sixth seed Coco Gauff is looking formidable in the other side of the draw, the manner of Sabalenka’s victory over Zheng provided more evidence of her credentials.

Sabalenka had not dropped a set coming into the quarter-final, losing just 16 games in her previous four matches.

The way she dominated 20-year-old Zheng from the start illustrated her confidence, winning the first seven points to lay the platform for an early break.

Sabalenka allowed her opponent to win just four points as she raced 5-0 ahead, going on to wrap up the first set in 27 minutes.

Zheng is one of the hottest prospects on the WTA Tour and eventually settled in what was her first major quarter-final.

The second set was a much closer contest, with a single break for Sabalenka in the sixth game proving decisive.

After Zheng saved a match point on her own serve, Sabalenka took a second in the following game when Zheng hit a backhand into the net, securing victory in just one hour and 13 minutes.

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