Wimbledon: Aryna Sabalenka to face fellow 1st-timer Karolina Pliskova in SF

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Wimbledon: Aryna Sabalenka to face fellow 1st-timer Karolina Pliskova in SF

Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the penultimate round in the bottom half of the Wimbledon draw. Both, the eighth-seeded Czech and the second-seeded Belarusian came through their respective quarter-final in straight sets.

Pliskova beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 21 minutes in the first quarter-final. The former world no. 1 dominated the entirety of the opening set and extended her domination right up to the latter part of the second set.

However, Golubic soldiered on and even had three break-back points in an over 10-minute long seventh game in the second set. Pliskova’s huge serves helped her extricate herself and she held on for a 5-2 lead in the set.

In the eighth game, trying to stay in the match, Golubic’s serve came under pressure yet again. She faced four match points and while she saved three, she couldn’t do much on the fourth with a forced error ending her run in the last eight.

Pliskova hit 28 winners to the Swiss’ 10 and had 19 unforced errors to the latter’s 16. She didn’t face a single break point in the opening set and was tested on her serve only once – in the seventh game of the second set.

Wimbledon: Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova bid to reach maiden Major final

In her match, Sabalenka put up an equally strong performance against Ons Jabeur in their quarter-final. The world no. 4 won 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 14 minutes to reach the Wimbledon semi-final for the first time in her career.

Sabalenka’s forceful and aggressive play directed the proceedings. While Jabeur had her chances to get back, she wasn’t able to counter her opponent’s tactics all the way. The opening set was quite tight as was the start of the second but as the match progressed, Sabalenka kept adding to the pressure on Jabeur.

A break of serve in the eighth game of the second set gave the Belarusian the chance to serve for the match. Sabalenka did face a break point but she forced an error on the next point to level the game at deuce. Two more errors – unforced, this time – from Jabeur helped Sabalenka make it through to the second-last round.

Sabalenka hit 27 winners and had 20 unforced errors. On the other hand, Jabeur had 20 winners and 11 unforced errors. In terms of break point conversion, Jabeur could convert only one of the seven break points she had while her rival of the day fared relatively better, making good on three of the 10 break-point chances she had.

The Wimbledon semi-final will be the third meeting between Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka. The latter leads their head-to-head 2-0. Incidentally, both of their previous matches had come about in 2018, with one match played on grass – at the Eastbourne Open. This will be the first time that the two will be playing against each other at a Major.