‘Any of us can win’ – US Open women’s semi-finals

Iga Swiatek won the French Open in dominant fashion in 2020 and 2022
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 29 August-11 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries across BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

World number one Iga Swiatek continues her bid for a second Grand Slam of the season as part of Thursday’s intriguing US Open women’s semi-final line-up.

French Open champion Swiatek will take on Aryna Sabalenka, who is searching for a first major title after reaching the last four last year.

The Pole is the only Grand Slam winner left in the women’s draw.

Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur will take on the in-form Caroline Garcia in the first semi-final from 00:00 BST.

France’s Garcia is on a 13-match winning streak, having come through qualifying to clinch the Cincinnati Open title in the build-up to Flushing Meadows, but Jabeur leads their head-to-head 2-0.

Swiatek has won a Tour-leading 50 matches this year and has made the semi-finals of every major bar Wimbledon in a stellar season.

Both she and Belarusian opponent Sabalenka came through their quarter-final matches in straight sets as they aim for a first US Open title.

Iga Swiatek Aryna Sabalenka Ons Jabeur Caroline Garcia
Age 21 24 28 28
World ranking 1 6 5 17
WTA titles 9 10 3 10
Best Grand Slam result W (French Open 2020 & 2022) SF (Wimbledon & US Open 2021) F (Wimbledon 2022) QF (French Open 2017)

Sabalenka & Swiatek put individual struggles aside

This is the first time since last year’s US Open that big-hitting Sabalenka has won five matches in a row.

She saved two match points in her second round match against Kaia Kanepi, where she staged a remarkable comeback from 6-1 5-1 down to keep her campaign on track in New York.

Sabalenka has had a difficult season and has lost the two WTA finals she has reached, including a heavy defeat by Swiatek in Stuttgart in April. She has also changed her serve after struggling with double faults that left her in tearsexternal-link during one match in Adelaide.

“This season when I was struggling with a lot of things and I couldn’t play my best, but still I was there, I was fighting,” she said.

“I’m in the semi-final and I have zero expectation for myself. I will just go there and fight for every point.”

Swiatek has been the form player for much of the year, winning her second French Open in the middle of a record 37-match unbeaten streak.

She arrived in New York having not gone beyond the quarter-final stage of a tournament since losing in the third round at Wimbledon in July and has still yet to find her best tennis.

However, she is the only player to know what it is like to win a major trophy, which may give her an edge over the inconsistent Sabalenka.

“I remember when I was an underdog and any match against a top player was surreal,” she said.

“I think any of us can win any tournament.”

Garcia & Jabeur learning from past experiences

Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur
Caroline Garcia (left) has lost both her previous matches against Ons Jabeur

Jabeur had a picture of the Wimbledon trophy as her phone’s lock screen throughout the grass-court Slam but has had a difficult time since losing the final from a set up against Elena Rybakina.

She won just two of her five matches following Wimbledon and had to retire at the Canadian Open with abdominal pain.

However, she too has worked her way into form in New York, overcoming a poor serving day against Ajla Tomljanovic to reach the semi-finals.

“I believe in myself after Wimbledon,” she said after her win over Tomljanovic.

“I know that I have it in me to win a major final.”

Britain’s three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray said Garcia would be “number one in the world one day” after her performance at the French Open in 2011 when she was just 17-years-old.

She reached her career high ranking of world number four in 2017, having won two big titles on the WTA and reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

She dropped out of the top 70 last year but is the in-form player on the WTA, having won three titles in the past three months.

“End of 2017, 2018 was a great year, a lot of success. We made some mistakes,” Garcia said.

“I really hope and I think we learn from it. I think I grow up a lot with all the challenges on and off court.”

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