Sabalenka is now fit for service and big titles


Aryna Sabalenka ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP

The 24-year-old Belarusian, who has solved her service problems, is the favorite for her semi-final on Thursday against the surprise Magda Linette.

It would be a first. A final between two players without flags (in response to the Ukrainian conflict, still in progress), since the two Belarusians Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka are in the running, this Thursday in the last four of Melbourne. If the confrontation between Azarenka, in full revival, ten years after her title in Melbourne and Elena Rybakina (25th), the surprise winner of the last Wimbledon, seems undecided, that between Sabalenka and Linette seems unbalanced. Sabalenka stands out as the big favorite this Thursday against the Polish Magda Linette, who fell for Caroline Garcia in 8e of final. She also easily won the only two duels between them (6-1, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-1, each time on hard court).

Sabalenka dismissed without trembling, Wednesday en quarters the Croatian Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 in one hour. The 24-year-old had however lost five of her previous six meetings with the Croatian. From ancient history. Nothing seems to disturb Belarus. In mode, steamroller. Dominated in 8e of the final by Sabalenka, Belinda Bencic confided to the Swiss press: “It was like a boxing match between a lightweight and a heavyweight. I started well but then she became more and more aggressive and I was no longer able to counter her strike force“. The native of Minsk is now the woman to beat, after the eliminations of Iga Swiatek, the world number one, on Sunday, of the world number three Jessica Pegula or even Caroline Garcia, recent winner of the Masters and executioner in the final… of Sabalenka .

Since losing to Lyonnaise, Sabalenka has started with a title in Adelaide on 11e of his career in January, before coming to Melbourne to fly over the competition. She now has eight wins in a row and sixteen winning sets won consecutively since the start of the year. She is full of confidence. Above all, the Belarusian is now good for service. Despite her tall height (1.82 m), she was known to be “the player who no longer knew how to serve “. She finally seems to have fixed her chronic problems in this key area of ​​the game.

According to him, the problem was not mental, but mechanical:I did everything to change my service. All. I thought for a long time that it was a mental problem and I was working on finding an unlock. The solution came when I realized that it was my gesture that was wrong. We looked for different solutions with a biomechanic, we remodeled my serve movement and from there I started to find my level.” During the 2022 season, Aryna Sabalenka had thus committed a total of 440 double faults, 151 more than the second worst waitress, an average of eight double faults per game (55 games played, 33 wins for 22 losses).

So near, so far. In Adelaide, a year ago, she notably chained 21 double faults and ended her match in tears by serving with a spoon. She only committed four against Belinda Bencic, including three at the start of the match, and left only one break point for her opponent. What makes all the difference and which can allow him to consider unlocking the Grand Slam counter by the end of the week.

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