Rome: Aryna Sabalenka ousts Jelena Ostapenko, continues brilliant form

Sabalenka safely through to the Rome Open semifinal.

by Dzevad Mesic
Rome: Aryna Sabalenka ousts Jelena Ostapenko, continues brilliant form
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka has been through to the Rome Open semifinal after beating 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

On Wednesday afternoon - in what was a very attractive matchup on paper - No. 2 seed Sabalenka needed an hour 12 minutes to oust ninth-seeded Ostapenko 6-2 6-4. 

By beating Ostapenko, 26-year-old Sabalenka ensured reaching her second Rome semifinal in her sixth appearance at the tournament. Also, Sabalenka kept her perfect record against Ostapenko as she now has three wins and zero losses against the Latvian.

Later today, Sabalenka - who was a finalist at the Madrid Open two weeks ago - will learn her Rome semifinal opponent when Danielle Collins and Victoria Azarenka finish their quarterfinal match.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

How Sabalenka beat Ostapenko?

Right from the start, Sabalenka was looking determined to open an early lead but Ostapenko managed to save two break points in the opening game. However, Sabalenka kept with the same approach and soon she rewarded with back-to-back breaks and five consecutive games won for a 5-1 lead. 

In the seventh game, Ostapenko managed to finally win a game but it didn't change much when it comes to the outcome of the first set as Sabalenka routinely served out for the opener in the following game.

After facing break points in three games in the first set and losing her serve twice, Ostapenko managed to stabilize her serve a bit at the start of the second set and go through her opening three service games without a break point faced. But then, Ostapenko made a few mistakes in the seventh game - Sabalenka earned two consecutive break points - the Belarusian realized her first break and went 4-3 up.

In the eighth game, Ostapenko won the opening point but then made two unforced errors and Sabalenka also hit two great winners as the Belarusian opened a 5-3 lead. 

Serving to stay in the match, Ostapenko pretty routinely won the game to cut the deficit to 4-5 and make Sabalenka serve out for the match. But Sabalenka remained calm and she closed out the match by converting her first match point on her serve in the 12th game. 

Aryna Sabalenka Jelena Ostapenko Rome Open