Sabalinka wins Belarus war



Ariana Sabalinka won the Belarus battle on Friday, denying compatriot Victoria Azarenka a chance to return to the top 10 with a 6-2, 6-4 victory in the WTA Montreal Masters.

The 32-year-old Azarenka, who has won two Australian Open titles to her credit, finished last in the elite group five years ago before giving birth.

The quarter-final victory for top seed Sabalinka took 82 minutes, with the long-serving winner adding seven aces to his season’s WTA total of 265.

“I’m really happy about it, it was a tough match,” Sabalinka said. “He played well

“The second set was a bit difficult. I’m really glad I came back (after trailing 4-2) and won it. I’m happy with today’s level.”

Sabalinka has now won three of four matches against his compatriot, including his last match in Ostrava in October 2020.

Azarenka played in the Canadian semi-finals in 2010 and 2011.

Sabalinka was playing her eighth quarterfinal of 2021, taking a joint lead with world number one Ashley Barty in this statistical category.

“There were some points that really made a difference,” Azarenka said. “I got a chance in the first set.

“But she was playing very strong in the crucial moments. I didn’t really take my chances too high.

“Compared to other players, he’s probably one of the toughest hitters.”

Sabilenka will face fourth seed Carolina Pliskova when the Czechs beat Sarah Sorbes Tormo of Spain 6-4, 6-0. Pliskova stopped Sabalinka in her last match, the Wimbledon semi-final in July.

At the bottom of the draw, 15th seed Coco Goff saved two match points before falling 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to Camilla Giorgi of Italy.

The win avenged Jorge, who lost to an American teenager at home in Perma this season.

Georgie, ranked 71st, added Goff to his prey list this week, including 12th seed Petra Kvitova and 16th seed Alice Martinez.

“I’ve been playing very consistently this season,” Jorge said. “I’ve played a lot of tournaments without interruption or injury.

“I played non-stop throughout the season, I think that’s the key.”

The quarterfinals of the Australian Open defeated 13th seed Ounce Jabier 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0, 6-0 in 90 minutes with four intervals to serve Tunisia.

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