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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday July 5, 2021

 
Aryna Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka powered past Elena Rybakina to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal and set a clash with Ons Jabeur.

Photo Source: Getty

The long wait is over for Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian cracked the Grand Slam code on Wimbledon’s manic Monday to reach the last eight at a major for the first time—on her 15th Grand Slam appearance.

Tennis Express

The victory is particularly special for Sabalenka because she was the only Top-20 seed at Wimbledon who had not reached a major quarterfinal. She took care of Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in big-serving battle to set a date with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals.

"I'm really happy," Sabalenka said after the match. "But this is not the final goal for me. I'm happy for now, but tomorrow is another match. I'm trying to stay focused. I will think about everything later."

Sabalenka fired 10 aces and 33 winners to claim a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory, and she managed five breaks of serve against Rybakina, who also fired 10 aces.

Jabeur admitted that the pressure of the first week can be tough, but on Monday she was able to avoid overthinking.

"Of course it's a lot of pressure," she said. "I would say the toughest matches is the first three matches. After you just keep going, trying to stay not relaxed but focused, focus on your game, don't try to overthinking. I think I did it pretty well in this match today. For now I'm not really thinking actually, to be honest, about that this is quarterfinal. I'm just trying to focus on my game, think what I have to do tomorrow to win that match."

The No.2-seeded Belarusian was able to win 27 of 38 points against Rybakina’s second serve to control the match on return.


Jabeur Roars Back to Top Swiatek

Sabalenka will next square off with No.21-seeded Jabeur, who roared back from a one-set deficit to defeat seventh-seeded Iga Swiatek, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Jabeur won 56 of the 80 points that were played in sets two and three to book her first Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance, and her second trip the last eight at the Grand Slams (also 2020 Australian Open).

After the win, Jabeur said she wants more success this week. She's not just happy to reach the last eight.

"This time is different," she said. "This time I been going to the second week almost every Grand Slam right now, being more consistent. So I think everybody was kind of expecting me to be in the second week. Like I said, my goal is to break this quarterfinal and be able to go to semi, and why not the final? I'm enjoying my time here in Wimbledon, enjoying the grass a lot. Next round is not going to be easy so I have to be ready for it."

Jabeur and Sabalenka each entered Wimbledon with 1-3 lifetime records in main draw play at the Championships.

 

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