Aryna Sabalenka has lost all three of her previous grand slam semi-finals, but she says this year’s Australian Open feels different after entering the last four on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old fifth seeded beat Donna Vekic 6-3 6-2 to secure her place in the semi-finals and will face the unseeded Pole Magda Linette.
Sabalenka won the Adelaide International title before the Melbourne Open, meaning she’s won her last nine games without a set.
Wednesday’s win pushed Sabalenka’s grand slam quarterfinal record to 4-0, although despite winning the first set in all three sets, her grand semi-final record, now 0-3, is a different story.
Sabalenka made it to the semifinals at the US Open last year, where she lost to first place and eventual winner Iga Swiakek. The Belarusian also made it to the 2021 Flushing Meadows semi-finals and lost the 2021 Wimbledon semi-final to eighth seeded Karolina Pliskova, falling to unseeded Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
“I feel a little different,” Sabalenka told reporters. “I think I lost those three semi-finals just because I wasn’t very calm on the court.
“I was exaggerating things. I really wanted to win this slam. I was in such a rush. I was so nervous. I was screaming, doing all that.”
“I’m a little bit calmer on the court right now. I really believe that’s the only thing missing from my game. If I can keep that focus and calmness on the court, I can get through it.” .
“I feel like I believe in myself more. I think that’s the biggest difference.”
Strong Sabalenka cleverly used her forehand against Vekic with 38 wins, while keeping her cool, she saved 12 of 14 break points.
When asked how he kept his concentration, he added: “I’m just trying to look down on the situation, like I took a break, and even if it’s going to break me, nothing’s going to go bad. you’re just going to continue to serve well.
“I’m just trying to look down on the situation, trying to relax, trying to think about what I should do.”
Sabalenka’s run into the last four at the Australian Open creates the opportunity for the all-Belarus grand slam final for the first time, where compatriot Victoria Azarenka will be featured in the other semi-final where she will face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
“I really want it to happen,” he said. “I know that Vika will do everything in her power to make this happen. I will do everything in my power to make it happen.
“It’s going to be history. It’s going to be incredible and difficult to understand that this really happened.”
“It’s going to be huge. It’s going to help other kids understand that they can be successful in this sport, become the best players.”