- Aryna Sabalenka can win her first Australian title when she contests the Adelaide final.
- The Belarusian star is yet to drop a set in her run to the Adelaide International decider.
- Ons Jabeur and Laura Noskova will compete in the other women’s semi-final.
Belarusian powerhouse Aryna Sabalenka will have the chance to complete a perfect Australian Open preparation after qualifying for her first Adelaide International final.
The world No.5 is yet to drop a set in her march to the Adelaide International, with Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu her latest victim in a 6-3, 6-2 cakewalk in only 78 minutes.
Sabalenka’s victory comes as world No.1 Iga Swiatek (shoulder), who competed at the United Cup for Poland, and fellow top-five star Jessica Pegula withdrew from next week’s second Adelaide event.
World No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka. Credit:Mark Brake, Getty
The news follows men’s No.1 Carlos Alcaraz pulling out of the Australian Open with a right leg injury, but it is understood Swiatek’s withdrawal is only precautionary, and she is still expected to play at Melbourne Park.
“As you all know I love to play in Adelaide and I have nothing but best memories from tournament,” Swiatek said.
“Unfortunately, this year I have to withdraw from Adelaide International Two because of [a] shoulder issue and fatigue after United Cup.
“I’m really sorry for this and I hope to see you all next year.”
None of Sabalenka’s 10 WTA singles titles were won in Australia – she made the Adelaide semi-finals three years ago – but she twice previously claimed Australian Open lead-in events at Shenzhen (2019) and Abu Dhabi (2021).
Second-seeded Sabalenka will face the winner of Saturday night’s semi-final between No.1 seed Ons Jabeur and teenage Czech qualifier Linda Noskova.
“I’m happy with the level I played today, especially [because] she’s playing a little different style, so I’m super happy that I was able to win this match,” Sabalenka said.
“I mean, any way [the other semi-final goes] is going to be a tough match.
“Both of them are playing really great tennis this week. I saw a couple of matches of both, and it’s going to be a great battle, and I’m really looking forward to this final.”
Sabalenka could not convert three break points in the fourth game of the match, but made no mistake two games later to snatch a 4-2 lead she never relinquished, albeit after fighting back from 0-40 in the next game.
Any chance of Begu launching a comeback evaporated when she double-faulted then dumped a forehand into the net to concede serve to start the second set.
Sabalenka added an insurance break in the seventh game before sending down her sixth ace of the match to seal her passage to the final.
The 24-year-old trailed 5-1 in her first match of the week against Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova but fought back to win that clash in two tiebreaks before defeating Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.
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