cloudyn.png
Thursday February 2nd, 2023 2:24AM

Swiatek tops Pegula; faces Sabalenka in US Open semifinals

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Iga Swiatek dropped four points in a row in her U.S. Open quarterfinal against Jessica Pegula by missing shots, some wildly. So with Pegula up by a break at 3-2 and serving at 30-love, Swiatek walked over to the sideline in the middle of a game to swap out her white racket for another one.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium roof was open, the 70-degree air was as cool and dry as it's been during a hot, humid tournament, and Swiatek figured maybe she should try a tighter string tension to see whether that would help control the ball a little more.

Whether that actually did the trick, or simply put Swiatek's mind at ease, the move certainly swung the direction of the match. The No. 1-ranked Swiatek grabbed 14 of the next 15 points and, while closing things out was not easy, she reached her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows by pulling out a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over Pegula on Wednesday night.

“I don’t know if it actually was the key or something,” Swiatek said after a match filled with a combined 13 breaks of serve, 10 in the second set alone. “For sure, I wasn’t thinking about the strings (anymore), and I just focused on the right stuff after the change.”

When play resumed, Swiatek popped up a short return that floated toward Pegula, who rushed a backhand swinging volley that landed out. That was followed by three forehand errors in a row by the No. 8 Pegula, the highest-ranked American player.

“I started missing everything for literally the rest of the set,” Pegula said between sips from a can of Heineken. “It was definitely a huge momentum change. I think it helped her a lot. So it was a good move by her. ... I was just going for too much. The games kind of flew by."

Swiatek will face No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Thursday’s semifinals. The other women’s semifinal is No. 5 Ons Jabeur against No. 17 Caroline Garcia, who eliminated 18-year-old American Coco Gauff on Tuesday.

Swiatek, a 21-year-old from Poland who won the French Open in 2020 and this June, twice failed to serve out the victory Wednesday, at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set. But she was better in the tiebreaker, and when Pegula missed a backhand to close the contest, Swiatek ran toward her guest box, flung her racket and yelled.

Swiatek compiled a 37-match winning streak earlier this season, claiming the trophies at six consecutive events, but this is her first trip beyond the fourth round in New York.

“I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning of the tournament,” she said. “Trying to keep my expectations low.”

This marked Swiatek's eighth win in a row against an opponent ranked in the top 10, all in straight sets.

“I'm super proud of myself. My goal, basically, is to be consistent,” she said. “I remember when I was an underdog and every match like that was surreal. Now it feels pretty routine.”

Pegula, a 28-year-old whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, dropped to 0-4 in Grand Slam quarterfinals, including a trio of losses at that stage this season. All three of those came against a player atop the rankings at the time: Ash Barty at the Australian Open in January and then Swiatek at Roland Garros and Wednesday.

“I'm a little deflated right now,” Pegula said. “I'm not real happy.”

Of the four players remaining in the bracket, only Swiatek already owns a major championship. And only Sabalenka, who defeated two-time Slam runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6 (4), ever has been this far at Flushing Meadows previously; she lost in the semifinals last year.

“I’m ready for it,” Sabalenka said. “I’m ready for another fight.”

Bounced from the semifinals at Wimbledon last year by Pliskova, Sabalenka made sure from the start that this one would be different, taking a 4-0 lead.

This year, Sabalenka could not participate at the All England Club, because all players from Russia and Belarus were banned over the invasion of Ukraine. Sabalenka spent that fortnight in Miami, practicing and preparing for a return to the tour.

“It was a tough time, especially when I was working out in the gym and there was Wimbledon playing on the TV,” Sabalenka said. “I was always (turning) it off, because I couldn’t watch it.”

___

More AP coverage of U.S. Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey, AP Online Tennis, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tiafoe 1st US man in US Open semifinals since Roddick in '06
Frances Tiafoe has become the first American man to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 2006
9:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Swiatek tops Pegula; faces Sabalenka in US Open semifinals
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek has beaten Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-6 (4) in to reach the U.S. Open semifinals for the first time
9:26PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Official: Suspect in Canada rampage is dead by his own hand
A Canadian official says the final suspect in the stabbing rampage in and around Canadian reserve has died of self-inflicted wounds after his car was run off the road by police
9:18PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Judge hits 55th home run, Yanks beat Twins 5-4 in 12 innings
Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 55th home run in the only blemish of Louie Varland’s otherwise outstanding big league debut, Oswaldo Cabrera’s single capped a two-run 12th and the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 in the opener of a doubleheader
8:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
Strider, Braves win 7th in a row, beat Athletics 7-3
Rookie Spencer Strider overcame a rough start, Vaughn Grissom and Dansby Swanson homered and the Atlanta Braves won their seventh in a row, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-3
7:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
US Rep: Sitcom with Danny DeVito as voice of Satan is 'evil'
A Louisiana congressman says an animated horror comedy featuring Danny DeVito as the voice of Satan is “clearly evil.”
6:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Tiafoe beats Rublev; 1st US man in US Open SF in 16 years
Frances Tiafoe has become the first American man to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 2006 by beating Andrey Rublev 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4
5:04PM ( 4 hours ago )
Sabalenka returns to US Open semifinals by beating Pliskova
Aryna Sabalenka has returned to the U.S. Open semifinals with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Karolina Pliskova
2:30PM ( 7 hours ago )
Sabalenka tops Pliskova, returns to semis | US Open updates
Aryna Sabalenka reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the second straight year by beating Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6 (4)
1:49PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Tennis
Tiafoe 1st US man in US Open semifinals since Roddick in '06
Frances Tiafoe has become the first American man to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 2006
9:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Official: Suspect in Canada rampage is dead by his own hand
A Canadian official says the final suspect in the stabbing rampage in and around Canadian reserve has died of self-inflicted wounds after his car was run off the road by police
9:18PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Obamas return to the White House, unveil official portraits
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have unveiled their official White House portraits in an event filled with nostalgia and humor
9:15PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Another US congressional delegation in Taiwan amid tensions
Another U.S. congressional delegation is visiting Taiwan as tensions remain high with China over its claims to the self-governed island
9:09PM ( 42 minutes ago )
California faces another day of grid-straining extreme heat
Operators of California’s electricity grid say a miscommunication led to a small number of power outages as the system was under great strain
9:09PM ( 43 minutes ago )