“Calm” Aryna Sabalenka took her 2023 record to 16-1 when she beat Coco Gauff at the Wells Open in India and later admitted she is more in control of her emotions as a Grand Slam winner.
After falling in three majors in the semi-finals, Sabalenka broke her duck at this year’s Australian Open as she not only reached her first final but also beat Elena Rybakina in three straight.
It was her second title of the year, but winning a Grand Slam certainly gave her an extra boost.
That motivation was on full display in her quarterfinal match against Gauff in California, where she beat the teenager 6-4, 6-0 in just over an hour.
“I knew you guys wanted to send me home… Thanks to everyone who came and helped us, mostly her, but us.”
Pure gold from @SabalenkaA 😂#Tennis paradise pic.twitter.com/ZpoMjVL61u
— wta (@WTA) March 15, 2023
In the year It’s been quite a turnaround for the world No. 2 in 2022, who landed 427 double faults and struggled with her serve at one point, but had zero double faults on the gaff.
“I feel a little different on the court this year. I feel like I’m a little different player,” she said after the match.
“Because I’ve never had a slam before, and I always felt a lot of pressure from myself because I always wanted to get one. And every time something happens, I lose very close matches just because I really want to. I miss very easy shots,” she said.
“Now it helps me to have more confidence and understanding of what to do in those important matches.”
“I think I’m more calm on the court, and I’ve been able to control my emotions, which helps me stay in the game no matter what and not lose my mind and just fight for every point,” added the second seed. Without giving the opposition as easy points.
Sabalenka will face seventh seed Maria Sakkari after the Greek came from behind to beat 17th seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to reach the Indian Wells semi-finals.
All three of Sakari’s matches in California went the distance this week.
World No. 1 Iga Svitek will continue her title defense on Thursday when she plays Sorana Cirstea, with the winner of that clash facing either reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina or Karolina Muchova.
Read more: Name a better female tennis player than the ‘true love’ story between Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa…