Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka ousted Elina Svitolina in Paris a 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the French Open in Paris.
For Sabalenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, this is her first run to the semifinals on the clay courts of Roland Garros, a surface she clearly likes.
“When I was a kid, I practiced a lot on the clay, more than on hard court,” she said. “I feel very comfortable on the clay, and hopefully I can go as far as I can here at Roland Garros.”
In her next match, she will face Czech Karolina Muchova, who defeated Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2 in a quarterfinals meeting between two unseeded players.
Sabalenka was the aggressor in her match, converting three of nine breaks and cashing in on 12 of 17 points (71 percent) at the net. She had 30 winners against 37 unforced errors, with seven and 12, respectively, for Svitolina.
Svitolina, from Ukraine, reached the final eight in his first Grand Slam tournament since returning from a yearlong absence, during which she gave birth to her first child. Despite the feel-good nature of that story, fans booed her at the end of the match when she avoided shaking hands with Sabalenka, who is from Belarus. That nation has been supportive of Russia in its ongoing offensive in Ukraine.
Still, Sabalenka credited Svitolina for her level of play.
“She’s such a tough opponent, moving well, and what she’s doing after giving birth is so impressive,” Sabalenka said post-match. “A big respect to her. It was a tough match and I’m super happy with the win.”
Muchova needed one hour, 38 minutes to top Pavlyuchenkova and advance to her second Grand Slam semifinal, following the 2021 Australian Open.
Muchova has dropped just one set at Roland Garros, where last year she was taken off the court in a wheelchair after sustaining an ankle injury in a third-round loss to Amanda Anisimova.
“I don’t know what to say — it’s been an incredible two weeks and I’m just glad I’m still in the competition,” Muchova said about her journey to get back here.
She is 24-7 on the season.
Muchova broke her opponent’s serve five times and hit 21 winners.
–Field Level Media