We've reached the semifinals of the women's singles tournament in the U.S. Open, which passed its 10th day on Wednesday with the women's and men's quarterfinals.
On Wednesday afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York, Aryna Sabalenka defeated Karolina Plíšková 6-1, 7-6 (4) to advance to the women's semifinals.
It was a momentous victory for Sabalenka, who initially didn't look like she would make it out of the second round of the tournament when Estonia's Kaia Kanepi had her on the ropes down 2-6, 1-5. However the No. 6 seed rallied to defeat Kanepi 2-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Sabalenka also had to fight from behind to defeat American Danielle Collins in the round of 16.
It hasn't been an easy path for Sabalenka, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist (2021 U.S. Open and 2021 Wimbledon). But the Belarusian is proving that persistence matters more than perfection.
José Morgado @josemorgado
Aryna Sabalenka beats Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6(4) to reach back to back <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> semifinals. Her best result of the season, a bit out of nowhere. If on till Saturday… very tough to beat. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> will have four brand new singles finalists in the weekend. <a href="https://t.co/Z02xW23wq5">pic.twitter.com/Z02xW23wq5</a>
The 24-year-old has been on the rise for a while now, reaching No. 2 in the world rankings last year. Now, the world is watching to see if it's finally time for her to nab her first singles Grand Slam title.
As for her mindset, Sabalenka summed it up as follows, via USOpen.org: “I just keep thinking this way: keep working, keep fighting. Who knows?”
In the evening, Poland's Iga Świątek battled it out against American Jessica Pegula, who represented the United States' last hope at advancing at this year's U.S. Open after Caroline Garcia defeated Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals.
After almost two hours of play, Świątek, the world No. 1, was able to squeak out a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over the eighth seed to earn a matchup against Sabalenka.
By the end of the match, Overall, Świątek had 22 winners, compared with Pegula's 14.
As ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, Świątek has entered rarefied U.S. Open air with her win:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Iga Swiatek defeats Jessica Pegula in straight sets, becoming the first top-seeded woman to reach a US Open semifinal having dropped just 1 set or fewer since Serena Williams in 2016.<br><br>The last to do so and go on to win the tournament was Williams in 2014. <a href="https://t.co/ebsdgvCG3B">pic.twitter.com/ebsdgvCG3B</a>
On Thursday, each will attempt to reach their first U.S. Open final. In their four career meetings, Świątek leads 3-1.
Meanwhile, Garcia, who is seeded 17th, will face No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur. Garcia has been on fire this season, winning 30 of 34 matches since the Bad Homburg Open, at which she won her eighth career title and has since added titles at the Poland Open and the Western & Southern Open.
The 28-year-old from France has yet to drop a set at this year's tournament.
Jabeur defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, who ended Serena Williams' run at this year's U.S. Open, in their quarterfinal matchup to reach the semifinals.
In so doing, she made history, becoming the first African woman to make the U.S. Open semifinals in the Open era.
It's the second career major semifinal for the Tunisian after she was runner-up at this year's Wimbledon.
The women's singles semifinals will go down Thursday evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Garcia and Jabeur kicking things off at 7 p.m. ET and Świątek and Sabalenka closing the semifinals afterward.