MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka outmuscled Donna Vekic 6-3 6-2 in a ferocious battle of big hitters on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.
The 24-year-old, the only top-10 seed left in the draw, took her chances in a physical one-hour first set littered with break points before running away with the second.
Vekic had held a 5-1 career record against Sabalenka but was unable to match the level of the new, improved version of the Belarusian with 13 double faults not helping the Croatian’s cause.
Sabalenka completed the semi-final line-up after 109 minutes on Rod laver Arena and will play Polish surprise package Magda Linette on Thursday for a place in her first Grand Slam final.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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