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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday October 23, 2020


Tennis is crazy, and that’s not even the half of it.

Just ask Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian could barely put one foot front in front of the other for ten straight games against Sara Sorribes Tormo on Friday in Ostrava, but somehow she rebounded to win the final 12 games of one of the streakiest matches in WTA history on Friday to reach the semifinals.

Tennis Express

Sabalenka rejoiced after rebounding to win her first game of the match, and never looked back.

"Yeah I was so happy that I could finally win one game,” she told reporters in a virtual press conference after the match. “I was so happy in that moment, and my coach was joking like 'So now you can retire, it's fine, at least you won one game.'"

Sabalenka was facing points to fall behind 5-0 in the second set but eventually rallied and did not drop another game in one of the most stunning turnarounds of the 2020 season.

Sabalenka, who is still alive in the doubles draw as well and who had to rally from 5-2 down in the third set to defeat Coco Gauff on Thursday in Ostrava, says she just wasn’t ready to go at the start.

"I wasn't on the court, I wasn't doing anything, I didn't even try to win, I was like out of the game and I didn't know why,” she said.


The 22-year-old World No.12 told reporters that eventually she found her game and then gained confidence when she was able to get on the board and start chipping away at the lead Sorribes Tormo, a Spanish qualifier ranked 73, had built.

“I was just like going for the shots like really crazy, like trying to make winners and then I just a little bit cooled down, made one step back and just tried to put a little bit more balls back and tried to go through her backhand, and, yes it helped me to come back and after I won three games in a row I kind of knew that this is the good sign and if I will just keep going the same way I will find my game, and that's what happened,” she said.

The final set was a complete blitz. Sorribes Tormo was only able to win 11 points and could not fend off the aggressive strikes of the powerful Belarusian.


“I felt like well she's not giving me so much pressure, she's not making like winners and the only way she can beat me is only if I will keep missing and missing,” Sabalenka said. “And these thoughts helped me to stay in the rallies to find this perfect shot to hit and maybe make a winner, but I actually didn't even try to make winners, I was just like, I saw open court and I was just going there."

Sabalenka will move on to face Jennifer Brady in the semifinals on Saturday in Ostrava. Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sakkari will feature in the top half semifinal.


"I will keep trying to be focused from the first point and because I have to tomorrow,” Sabalenka said ahead of the first-time meeting with the American, who is ranked 26. I have to be focused on each point from the beginning otherwise I'm out. I don't want to be out."

 

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