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Iga Swiatek v Aryna Sabalenka: US Open tennis semi-final – live! | US Open Tennis 2022


Key events

Swiatek breaks in fourth game of first set!

First set: *Swiatek 2-2 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka shows her nerves in trying to back up the early break, going down love-30 then 15-40 on her serve. She’s able to fight off one break point with a forehand winner, but Swiatek strikes on the second to break back. We’re back on serve in the opener.

Sabalenka breaks in third game of first set!

First set: Swiatek 1-2 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek quickly falls behind love-30 on her serve. Then a big Sabalenka return makes it love-40, giving the Belarusian three early break-point chances. She needs only one of them as Swiatek sends a forehand into the netcord early in a baseline rally then helplessly watches it carom backward into her side of the court.

First set: *Swiatek 1-1 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka, like Swiatek, also holds from 15-30 in her opening service game. And off we go!

First set: Swiatek 1-0 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

A slight wobble for the top-seeded Swiatek in her opening service game as she falls behind 15-30 on an unforced error followed by a double fault. But she’s able to hold comfortably after Sabalenka accommodates with mistakes on the next three points.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka have taken the court for tonight’s second semi-final. The top-seeded Swiatek has won the toss and elected to serve. The players are into their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek takes the court for Thursday’s semi-final. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

“It feels amazing,” Jabeur says in her on-court interview after reaching her first US Open final. “After Wimbledon, [there was] a lot of pressure on me and I’m really relieved that I can back up my results. The hardcore season started a little bit bad, but now I’m very happy that I made it to the finals here.”

Jabeur is asked whether her perfect lifetime head-to-head record against Garcia entering tonight’s match – two wins on the pro tour and four more in the juniors – helped her to the win.

“I mean it helped and not at the same time, because I know she was playing amazing tennis and that kind of pressure puts a lot of pressure on you. So it wasn’t easy for me, but mentally I was so ready.”

Jabeur wins 6-1, 6-3 to reach US Open final!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 3-6 Jabeur

With Jabeur serving for the match, Garcia conjures a couple of winners to force it to 30-all. But the Tunisian responds with a forehand winner for match point, then a 75mph serve to the body that Garcia swats into the net. Jabeur immediately falls to her knees behind the baseline and lets out a scream. She’s headed to the US Open final for the first time!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 3-5 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia holds comfortably, hitting a couple of gorgeous volleys along the way. It’s now up to Jabeur to serve for a place in Saturday’s final.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 2-5 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Another glimmer of a chance for Garcia when Jabeur goes down 15-30 on her serve. Jabeur answers with a 93mph second-serve service winner before holding serve on another glut of unforced errors by Garcia. Jabeur is four points away from her first US Open final with Garcia due to serve to stay in the tournament after the change of ends.

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 2-4 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia falls behind love-30 on her serve. She’s able to hold with four quick points from there, finally getting the free points on her serve that she’s been getting all tournament but which have eluded her tonight. But she’s still down a set and a break and will need to make headway on Jabeur’s serve, and soon, in order to keep her US Open run alive.

Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia has struggled mightily in her first major semi-final. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 1-4 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur appears bound for a stress-free hold at 40-15. But Garcia wins a couple of points to get to deuce on a Jabeur service game for the first time all night. Some nice fight from the Garcia to force a second deuce point, then a third, but Jabeur is able to serve her way out of trouble, cracking her eighth ace of the night along the way.

Jabeur breaks in fourth game of second set!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 1-3 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

It’s just gotten worse for Garcia. After falling behind love-15, then 15-30, then 30-40 and break point on her serve, she mixes in her 18th unforced error of the night to gift Jabeur the break of serve.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 1-2 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

A glimmer of a chance for Garcia, who is able to push it to 30-all on Jabeur’s serve for only the second time all night. But Jabeur wins two quick points from there to hold before it can get interesting.

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 1-1 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia is pressured again on her serve after another unforced error off the forehand makes it 30-all. But she holds from there, capping the game with first ace of the night: 108mph down the center.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 0-1 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur breezes through her opening service game of the second set. The Wimbledon runner-up is simply on fire while Garcia is … not.

Jabeur wins first set, 6-1!

Jabeur breaks in seventh game of first set!

First set: Garcia 1-6 Jabeur

Garcia opens with a drop-shot winner but falls behind 15-30 with a two more errors. Jabeur then hits a forehand return winner for 15-40 and a couple of set points. But she needs just one of them as Garcia sends a forehand wide to give the Tunisian the opening set in a scant 23 minutes.

Remember: Garcia entered tonight’s match having yet to drop a set in the tournament with only 27 games conceded. She will need to reboot fast or it could get late early.

Ons Jabeur
Ons Jabeur celebrates after winning the first set of Thursday’s match. Photograph: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

First set: *Garcia 1-5 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur crushes three straight aces down the middle to race to 40-love, then closes the elementary love hold to consolidate the break with a forehand volley winner. Garcia will now serve to stay in the opening set.

Jabeur breaks in fifth game of first set!

First set: Garcia 1-4 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

More error-strewn play from Garcia costs her dearly. She falls behind 30-40 on her serve with her ninth, 10th and 11th unforced errors of the day, then hands Jabeur a double-break lead with her 12th (against just four winners). Garcia is struggling badly with Jabeur’s slice and finds herself in a heap of trouble after less than 20 minutes.

First set: *Garcia 1-3 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur falls behind 15-30 on her serve, but rattles off three quick points on an 100mph ace down the middle followed by consecutive forehand winners. She’s serving well and hitting the ball confidently early on.

First set: Garcia 1-2 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia quickly falls behind love-30 on her serve. But she rattles off four quick points from there to get on the board and avoid a disastrous start. As the players change ends, the sun goes down over the Manhattan skyline from the west side of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Caroline Garcia v Ons Jabeur
A view of the New York skyline during Thursday’s US Open semi-final between Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/AP

First set: *Garcia 0-2 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur cracks back-to-back aces down the middle to open her first service game. Garcia then makes another unforced error – her fifth already – and Jabeur is a point from the hold at 40-love. The 17th seed has lost seven straight points, showing early nerves. She pulls two points back with a backhand winner and Jabeur’s first double fault, but Jabeur holds comfortably thanks to Jabeur’s sixth miscue.

Jabeur breaks in first game of first set!

First set: Garcia 0-1 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia wins the first two points. But she follows with a pair of unforced errors off the forehand from the baseline, then nets a volley on the approach to face an early break point. A chance for Jabeur to draw first blood. And Garcia gifts it to her, sending a cross-court backhand sailing past the baseline early in the point.

Jabeur and Garcia have taken the court for their semi-final match on a pleasant 75F (24C) evening. They emerge to a two-thirds empty Arthur Ashe Stadium, owing to the typically late-arriving New York crowd. Billie Jean King is out for the coin toss and the players join her at the net, then pause for a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of the Queen.

Garcia wins the toss and elects to serve. The players are now into their warm-ups and we should be under way shortly.

Caroline Garcia v Ons Jabeur
Caroline Garcia, left, poses for a photo with Ons Jabeur ahead of their US Open semi-final match. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Some quick notes ahead of tonight’s first match between Jabeur and Garcia. Jabeur, the fifth-seeded Tunisian who reached the Wimbledon final in July, has become the first African to reach the semi-finals in US Open history. Only three only African women have reached the last four at any major in the professional era: Annette Du Plooy (1968 Roland Garros), Yvonne Vermaak (1983 Wimbledon) and Amanda Coetzer (1997 Roland Garros, 1996-97 Australian Open).

The scorching-hot Garcia, who has won three titles on three different surfaces this summer and enters tonight’s match on a career-best streak of 13 straight wins, has finally made the last four in her 42nd career appearance at a grand slam. Only four women have played more majors before making their semi-final debuts: Barbora Strycova (53, 2019 Wimbledon), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (52, 2021 French Open), Elena Likhovtseva (46, 2005 French Open) and Roberta Vinci (44, 2015 US Open) – the last of those much to Serena Williams’s chagrin.

Preamble

Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for tonight’s US Open women’s semi-finals. We’ve got a delicious twin-bill in store with No 5 Ons Jabeur meeting No 17 Caroline Garcia in the first match and No 1 Iga Swiatek going against No 6 Aryna Sabalenka in the nightcap.

We’re guaranteed a first-time US Open champion from this crop, but all the chatter about this being a wide-open semi-final draw feels a bit off target with a gang of four that includes this year’s French Open champion (Swiatek), a returning US Open semi-finalist (Sabalenka), the Wimbledon runner-up (Jabeur) and the hottest player on tour all summer long (Garcia). You could hardly ask for a more deserving last four at the season’s final major.

Plenty more to come tonight from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the first of our two semi-finals should be under way in about a half-hour.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s Tumaini Carayol’s lookback at Wednesday night’s (and Thursday morning’s) absolute cracker of a men’s quarter-final between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.





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