Aryna Sabalenka is having a great year – she is the best in the Race ranking, which means that she has been scoring the best since January. She won the Australian Open, triumphed in Madrid, and has several other achievements to her name. For several months, she has also been trying to get into the skin of Idze Świątek as the leader of the WTA ranking, and it was in London that she got another chance. And that’s because the Polish woman has already finished her participation in this tournament, losing on Tuesday to Elina Switolina.
Aryna Sabalenka had full control of the set. Madison Keys didn’t know how to get to her
Sabalenka entered this match at the highest speed, she played extremely hard from the first ball. Even though the American does not spare herself, she prefers strong strikes over technical ones, but in the first phase she was helpless. It is enough that she did not hit the first serve, and she was already met with a powerful attack by the Belarusian. Sabalenka scored three break points, but Keys managed to defend herself. She also had the ball at the end of the game, but it was broken in a moment.
This meant trouble for the American, who was undefeated on grass this season. She triumphed in Eastbourne, and overcame more obstacles in Wimbledon. Although in the fourth round she was already in a very bad position, she lost the first set against Mirra Andreeva, in the second it was 1:4 and the 16-year-old had another break point. Keys defended herself because she was consistent and gradually overcame her opponent’s resistance. But the difference between a teenager from Siberia and a Sabalenka is huge – Keys found out today. Although she risked a return, she played really good balls at times, reacting to the powerful services of the 25-year-old, she had no anchor point to make up for the loss. Not only that, she made too many mistakes herself, after six games she was losing 1:5. So this set was already lost, although the American finally won the first chance on Sabalenka’s service. She did not use it, and in a moment the Belarusian woman closed the case.
Madison Keys finally found a way to Sabalenka. And it just annoyed her
There was little indication that the American would be able to surprise her great rival with something. And yet she surprised – she changed the serve, stopped playing forcefully and flatly, because then Sabalenka scolded her with strong returns. Now the runner-up in the ranking started to be wrong, she had minor problems. It didn’t mean any major change in the match in Madison’s favor yet, it just leveled out. Both won their serves, the American led 3:2.
In the sixth game, Keys got her second chance in the match for a break in the match – after a second great return in a row. She perfectly read Sabalenka’s attack, who had the initiative, but hit the net. Later there was a second and third chance in the game, in the end the favorite remained. And for the first time in this match, the Belarusian player found herself in a difficult situation, she had to chase her rival, and her face showed that she was starting to get nervous. Or maybe otherwise – irritated.
Keys followed suit, leading 40-0 on her serve, had a huge chance for 5-2. Then Sabalenka started playing like crazy. She attacked every ball, won five consecutive points on Keys’ pass, then four of her balls, and another three when the American played again. She broke her rival twice, in less than ten minutes she completely changed the situation.
She served after the match and finished the match confidently. She won 6-2, 6-4 and will play in the semi-finals of Wimbledon. Her rival will be either Jelena Rybakina or Ons Jabeur.
% of break points won