While Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber look set to slog it out in the other semi-final, this one looks likely to be a more full throttle match between two of the best power players in Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova. Former No.1 Pliskova has finally returned to form after plenty of struggles while Sabalenka is finally looking like the player that has promised so much outside of slams.

With Ons Jabeur having dispatched three slam champs with power styles in the past three rounds, she would have fancied her chances of upsetting Sabalenka in the quarter-finals. As it was, Sabalenka was in control and put in an impressive performance to win 6-4 6-3 on the back of 27 winners. “I’m happy that from the side it looks like everything is working for me, but sometimes it’s really tricky shots on the grass, it’s sometimes tough to do anything with the ball. But I’m really happy I’m still in the tournament and somehow I found a way to win matches here.” she said. “This surface is amazing and it fits my game and I’m really enjoying every second on the court,”

While Pliskova’s draw hasn’t been the toughest, she has been utterly dominant against a set of opponents in a way she rarely has been in the past few years. Ludmila Samsonova and Viktorija Golubic were in good form and had picked up impressive wins prior to meeting Pliskova but neither got anywhere near to the Czech this week. She hit 28 winners on her way to the 6-2 6-2 win over Golubic as she continues to grow in confidence. “I’ve been playing quite well, super solid, serve is working. Today I did well. I expected a tough match. I think I did exactly what I needed to do to beat her. I was super focused and just, like, try to play every point, not to give her that many easy balls.”

Sabalenka’s qualities had been there to see for a long time and the Belarussian is solidly a top five player but had struggled to make the breakthrough at slams. It could be the mental boost she needs and another win here would prove that she truly belongs amongst the best players on tour. Pliskova is moving better and serving well, something she needs to continue to do to get the win here. However, a Sabalenka at her lethal best could prove unstoppable even if that happens.

Prediction – Aryna Sabalenka in three sets

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About Aaron Higgs

Experienced tennis writer with a focus on event previews and results.

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