April 15, 2021

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All the way back for Aryna Sabalenka in Ostrava

Sabalenka

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Never a dull moment with Aryna Sabalenka on a good day.

But her quarterfinal match Friday in Ostrava against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain was right up there.

Sabalenka was down 0-6, 0-4 and had break points on her serve to go down 0-5.

And somehow, she crawled all the way back to run the table and win 0-6, 6-4, 6-0.

She’s into the semifinals, where she will play Jennifer Brady. And Sabalenka will also have a doubles semifinal with partner Elise Mertens Saturday; they’re the No. 1 seeds.

“I was already in the locker room”

Sabalenka
“No words,” said Sabalenka, who still found some good ones. (WTATv.com)

“Maybe I have to play a set before I go on the court. I don’t even know what to say. It was so crazy. I couldn’t put the ball in, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t put the ball in the court. And I was yelling and screaming and doing crazy things,” Sabalenka said about the first set, in a post-match interview on court.

“And then again. 0-4. Nothing to do. I was already in the locker room. I was thinking when it’s (best) to go home. Then I reminded myself I play doubles here,” she added.

“So many thoughts through that match. I’m really happy I could somehow find the way back. Just crazy – another crazy match. Another big fight. I’m just happy.”

Sabalenka
Sabalenka took a medical timeout down 0-6, 0-3. If the timing was good, it hardly paid immediate dividends. it also was something she had carried over from the previous day (WTATv.com)

Sabalenka was dealing with a blister on her toe, for which she had a medical timeout at 0-3 in the second set. It had bothered her the previous day, when she came back from two breaks of serve down in the third set to beat American teenager Coco Gauff 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (2).

The Belorussian then had to return to the court later Thursday to play doubles. She and Mertens edged out Jelena Ostapenko and Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (5), 5-7, 10-8.

Four-hour, 20-minute Thursday for Sabalenka

So in all, that was about four hours and 20 minutes on court Thursday. Not surprising she might have gotten off to a slow start Friday night. But still …

Her reaction when she eliminated the possibility of the dreaded double-bagel, holding serve after a long game and saving break points at 0-4 in the second set, was a positive that might have helped in the comeback.

Sabalenka
Sabalenka gets pumped after avoiding the dreaded double-bagel. I was hard to see a way she would pull off the match. But she did. (WTATv.com)
Sabalenka
A good attitude, after saving break points to go down 0-6, 0-5 in a long game. It served her well. (WTATv.com)

“I need to think about tomorrow. I don’t want to go out there and have the same problems,” Sabalenka said.

After the singles match against Brady, which could be a fun one, Mertens and Sabalenka will take on Kirsten Flipkens and Demi Schuurs in the doubles semifinals.