World No.6 Aryna Sabalenka said that spending time away from Wimbledon was tough for her. The organisers of the Championships banned players from Russia and Belarus due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Aryna Sabalenka celebrates after reaching US Open semifinals. (AP Photo)
- Aryna Sabalenka said that watching Wimbledon on TV was tough for her
- Wimbledon banned players from Russia and Belarus due to Ukraine invasion
- Aryna Sabalenka will play world no.1 Iga Swiatek in the US Open semifinals
World No.6 Aryna Sabalenka recalled the “tough time” spent away from the 2022 Wimbledon, saying she could not watch the Championships on television. The Belarusian added that the ban imposed on players from her country and Russia gave her extra motivation to do well in the US Open.
Wimbledon banned players from Russia and Belarus owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus being used as key staging area for invasion. However, the organisers of the US Open allowed the players to compete but under the neutral flag.
Sabalenka stormed in the semi-finals of the year-end hard-court major after defeating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in the Round of 16 of the US Open. Sabalenka will play world number one Iga Swiatek for a place in the final. Poland’s Swiatek held off American Jessica Pegula to enter her maiden US Open semi-final.
“It was tough time, especially when I was working out in the gym and there was Wimbledon playing on the TV. I was always turning it off because I couldn’t watch it,” Sabalenka said. “But it was tough time, and I worked so hard.”
Sabalenka reached the semi-final at Wimbledon in 2021 before being denied to go a step further this year.
“They took away one opportunity from me and I worked really hard for this one,” the Belarusian said.
Sabalenka moved past Pliskova to reach her second consecutive semi-final at the US Open. After the match, the Belarusian said: “Always tough matches against Karolina. The first set was really high level for me and (I) put a lot of pressure on her.
“In the second set, I knew she will kind of trying to come back and she will do better. I just tried to hold my serve and try to put her under pressure on her serve.”
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