Thursday’s second semifinal matchup on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open sees World #1 Iga Swiatek come up against sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka. Swiatek somehow seems to have flown under the radar this fortnight despite her #1 status. The Pole reminded us of what she is capable of in a hard-fought quarterfinal win over a gallant Jessica Pegula. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka is into back-to-back semifinals in New York and is playing with freedom and confidence after narrowly escaping defeat earlier in the week. Let’s take a look at some of the keys to the matchup.
US Open Semifinal: Iga Swiatek vs Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka seemed to be in an impossible position in her second round clash with Kaia Kanepi earlier tournament. Sabalenka trailed by a set and 1-5, before she fought back, saving a pair of match points on route to a memorable 2-6 7-6 6-4 victory. The Belarusian has mentioned multiple times how that victory has given her more confidence moving forward this tournament and it has shown with impressive wins over players such as Danielle Collins and Karolina Pliskova. Perhaps there’s no stopping Sabalenka this tournament.
Swiatek’s recent H2H dominance
Iga Swiatek has dominated Aryna Sabalenka in 2022. The Pole has won all three of their meetings this season, all emphatic straight set victories. A 6-2 6-3 win in Doha, 6-2 6-2 in Stuttgart and 6-2 6-1 in Rome. It doesn’t get much more dominant than that. That’s got to be a factor heading into Thursday’s semifinal in New York. A confidence booster for Swiatek, a concern for Sabalenka.
Aryna Sabalenka and double faults has been a saga all season long. It all started in January when Sabalenka hit 21 double faults in a total meltdown as she lost to Rebecca Peterson. It’s no surprise that Sabalenka has hit more double faults than anyone else on Tour this year–way more. To her credit, the 24-year-old’s serve has been much, much better this tournament. In fact, Sabalenka has hit fewer double faults than her opponent in her last three matches this tournament, hitting just three in her straight-set win over Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Will Sabalenka’s double fault demons come back to haunt her with a spot in a maiden Major final up for grabs?
Swiatek too good?
The hype surrounding Iga Swiatek has dissipated ever since her 37-match winning streak came to an end at Wimbledon. The Pole’s form has certainly tailed off, but she’s back in the semifinals of a major and is always extremely tough to beat at this stage of a tournament. Swiatek is still undoubtedly the best player in the world, there’s a reason she has almost double as many ranking points as the second ranked spot. When Swiatek is at her best, recent history says there’s no stopping her.
Iga Swiatek is a two-time Major champion and current World #1. The Pole has dominated Aryna Sabalenka in 2022 and has been the better more consistent player of the two. The Belarusian is dangerous, she has the firepower to beat anyone but will need everything to go right if she is to pull off the upset and reach a maiden Grand Slam final.
Main Photo from Getty.