This is our current situation, but it only applies to today. Come back tomorrow for the men’s semifinals!
Zheng has truly deserved this victory. She has performed admirably to avoid facing any tough opponents until now. However, her upcoming match on Saturday will be a whole new ballgame as she will be up against Sabalenka, who not only has shown to be significantly superior to all her previous opponents, but also presents a unique challenge in the women’s circuit. Despite this, Zheng will enter the court with less pressure and her strong defense skills could give her a chance at winning if her serve and forehand are on point. However, let’s face reality, her chances are quite slim. Nevertheless, Sabalenka’s tendency to crumble under pressure has not completely disappeared, so anything is possible.
Zheng expresses her joy and commends Yastremska, stating that it’s difficult to put her emotions into words. She thanks the audience and her team, acknowledging their hard work on the court, in terms of fitness and treatment. She also mentions the importance of paying attention to small details every day. Before leaving, she shares some words in Mandarin without being asked to translate them, leaving as the happiest person in the world at this moment.
Yastremska will be pleased with her accomplishment of reaching the semifinals, but she also understands that it will require a significant effort to have another opportunity like this in the future. This includes not only reaching the semifinals, but also facing the 12th seeded player who is also striving for their first final. Despite her youth, Yastremska will hopefully not dwell on this and instead use it as a learning experience to come back as a stronger and more knowledgeable tennis player.
Yastremska loses 4-6 4-6 to Zheng. Zheng’s serving was excellent in this set as she starts off with a good serve, but Yastremska returns it well, causing an error. However, when given time and space, Yastremska hits a forehand into the net. Zheng then serves again and Yastremska is in pain as she misses a backhand from a decent position. This puts Zheng just two points away from winning. But Yastremska fights back with a backhand winner for 30-all, making the atmosphere tense. Zheng serves down the middle, but Yastremska’s inside-out backhand goes just wide. On match point, Zheng serves with confidence and secures her spot in her first Grand Slam final.
Yastremska is trailing 4-6 in the match against Zheng, who leads 34-5 in the set. Yastremska gains a 30-0 advantage, but Zheng fights back and takes control of the point. However, she hits a wide shot and Yastremska responds with a forehand winner. Now, Zheng must serve for the win, likely with shaky hands.
Yastremska trails Zheng with a score of 4-6, 3-5. A powerful serve to the side secures a 15-0 lead, followed by a return error from Zheng, giving Yastremska a 30-point advantage. Zheng is currently dominating with a 10-point streak on her serve. She gains another point, bringing her total to 11, with a return that lands in the net. However, Yastremska is able to save one point thanks to a lucky net-cord that changes the direction of the ball and allows her to hit a winning shot. Zheng is caught off guard and struggles to keep the rally going, but Yastremska ultimately hits the net again, putting the 12th seed just one game away from victory. This is a crucial moment for Yastremska, who has been working towards this moment her entire career; it remains to be seen how she will handle the pressure.
Yastremska loses the first set 4-6 and is down 3-4 in the second set against Zheng. Yastremska loses a point due to a double-handed shot from Zheng and decides to change her racket, but it does not improve her performance. Zheng impressively returns a difficult shot and Yastremska’s reply lands in the net, giving Zheng a 0-30 lead. In the previous service game, Yastremska was able to hold through deuce, but this time she hits a forehand that goes far beyond the court, putting her in a tough spot with three break points to save. However, she is unable to save them as Zheng continues to attack from the back and eventually forces an error with a powerful forehand to the corner, breaking Yastremska’s serve once again. With just two more holds needed for the final, Zheng is in a favorable position.
Yastremska falls behind with a 4-6 score in the first set and is currently tied 3-3 in the second set with Zheng*. However, Zheng quickly gains a 30-0 lead. Yastremska and a ball kid take a moment to remove an insect from the court. Despite the brief delay, Yastremska serves two aces in a row and successfully holds her serve. The pressure is now back on the qualifier, Zheng. Can she handle it and maintain her momentum?
Yastremska leads 4-6 3-2 against Zheng. A powerful backhand shot from Zheng results in 0-15, followed by a wide forehand shot at 0-30. Yastremska manages to tie the game at 30-all with a solid second serve and a strong forehand shot. Zheng regains control in the next rally, but Yastremska’s forehand on the line secures her game point. However, Zheng quickly responds with a fierce inside-out forehand and ties the score at deuce. Both players are now playing aggressively and displaying their best tennis of the match. Yastremska ultimately wins the game and takes the lead in the set, with her previous injury seemingly resolved for the time being.
Yastremska trails Zheng 4-6, 2-2. Zheng hits a strong forehand that Yastremska cannot return. However, Yastremska manages to hit a decent shot while running, resulting in a 15-all score. She then hits the top of the net with her backhand and the ball bounces over for a point. This puts pressure on Zheng. Yastremska makes a great forehand return, earning two break-back points. Unfortunately, she misses the first one due to a mishit and the second one due to an overhit forehand return. Despite this, she stays focused and hits a cross-court forehand return for a winner. However, Zheng quickly ties the score at deuce. Yastremska continues to go for aggressive shots, leading to her fourth break-back point. She hits another strong return, forcing Zheng to hit the net. Yastremska is rewarded for her persistence. However, it remains to be seen if this strategy will be sustainable throughout the match.
Yastremska trails Zheng 4-6 1-2 as Zheng swiftly moves to the side of the court to return a solid forehand over the net. Yastremska hits the ball into the net, and again on the backhand when Zheng hits another impressive shot; 0-30, and Yastremska is in a dangerous position. A second serve presents an opportunity for Zheng, who takes advantage by hitting a winner down the line and earning three break points. Yastremska has managed to save multiple break points before, but this time she can only save one. Zheng then delivers a beautiful forehand return onto the baseline, forcing Yastremska to make another error. If Yastremska doesn’t let her nerves get the best of her, Zheng may dominate this set.
During a break between sets, I had a feeling that Zheng might gain the upper hand due to her growing momentum. However, I was relieved when Yastremska easily held her serve as I prefer an exciting match. Zheng quickly gained a 30-0 lead with a powerful ace and eventually won the set. Although I could be mistaken, it seems likely that Zheng will eventually break through.
Yastremska lost the first set 4-6, but she takes a 1-0 lead in the second set. Zheng’s forehand is dominating the match and she uses it to hit a shot that sends Yastremska wide. She follows it up with a clean shot down the line to score 0-15. Zheng continues to impress with three more high-quality shots, forcing Yastremska to hit into the net at 15-all. Zheng is clearly the better player now. However, Yastremska manages to hit a decent serve and an even better forehand to clean up the point, ending with a service-winner down the T to win game-point. She secures the hold with another strong first serve.
We go again!
Zheng is currently the more likely candidate, appearing slightly calmer than before. However, as she approaches the final, the pressure will only increase and it is uncertain how she will handle it.
Yastremska has left once again, but this time, we have been informed that she is just changing her clothes.
Yastremska leads 4-6 against Zheng. Zheng desperately needs to make some first serves and manages to do so, but Yastremska responds with a strong return that ultimately earns her the point and shifts the momentum in her favor. In response, Zheng changes rackets for the second time and a backhand error results in a 15-all score. The match is very tense as Yastremska is constantly on the attack, but she struggles to keep up with a powerful serve down the middle. Another strong serve at 30-all gives Zheng a set point. She doesn’t like her first ball-toss, so she tries again and plays it safe with a shot towards the center of the court. However, a forehand towards the corner forces Yastremska to make a big shot while on the run, causing her attempted cross-court winner to narrowly miss. This gives the first set to Zheng, who has been the more consistent player despite neither player performing at their best.
After winning a forehand shot and a powerful strike on the line, Yastremska leads 30-0. She follows with a return into the net and two impressive backhands, ultimately setting up a beautifully executed drop shot. This results in a fantastic hold for Yastremska and puts the pressure on Zheng to serve out the set. It would be wise for Zheng to continue keeping her opponent on the move.
It appears that Yastremska is currently trailing behind Zheng with a score of 3-5. It seems that any pain medication that may have been taken will not take effect until the remainder of this set. Zheng may also be experiencing some stiffness from waiting around, as she loses the first point of her consolidation game. However, at 30-15, Yastremska attempts a backhand shot that unfortunately goes into the net, causing her to grimace in pain. Despite this, Yastremska is able to gain an advantage at 40-30 and successfully hits a forehand winner down the line. It seems that her injury is not affecting her performance. Zheng, on the other hand, makes an impressive return in the next rally, forcing Yastremska to hit the net. She then secures the consolidation point with a powerful backhand, and now Yastremska must serve to stay in the set. Hopefully, her injury will not hinder her ability to do so.
Yastremska has come back, feeling pain in her intercostal muscles, and hopefully she will be alright.
In the meantime, we have you covered.
Zheng leads 4-3 after a strong return and impressive shots, putting pressure on Yastremska who eventually nets and gives up three break points. Despite a brief moment of hope for Yastremska, she calls for a medical timeout due to a possible stomach issue. The outcome of this timeout remains uncertain, as Yastremska must decide whether to continue playing with the aid of painkillers or to retire from the match. Meanwhile, Zheng maintains her lead and the first set continues.
Yastremska 3-3 Zheng* Zheng twice goes long, and playing like this, neither of these has a chance against Sabalenka. But as we know, sport isn’t like that because people aren’t like that, and Zheng takes hold of this game, turning up the forehand aggression to turn 0-30 into 40-30, and a netted return secures the hold.
Yastremska leads 3-2 over Zheng with Yastremska experiencing some difficulty due to four double faults in the previous game. However, she quickly gains a 30-0 lead with Zheng narrowly missing a second serve opportunity. In the longest rally of the match, Yastremska’s strong shots prove to be decisive as Zheng is unable to push her wide enough. A long return from Zheng gives Yastremska the lead once again. Both players are still struggling to find consistency.
Zheng has improved her serve and was able to win the game without giving up any points. The score is now tied at 2-2 between Yastremska and Zheng.
Yastremska takes a 2-1 lead over Zheng after starting with a double. A strong return forces Yastremska to make an error on her forehand. Another double follows, similar to Gauff’s style, and at 0-40 it seems like all her effort will go to waste. However, Zheng misses her return and can’t reach an ace down the T. She does manage to get her racket on another serve in the same spot, but only hits the frame, leading to a deuce. A lengthy return gives Yastremska the advantage, but she can’t close it out and instead commits her third double fault of the game before hitting the net. This gives Zheng a fourth break point. Unfortunately, Yastremska is unable to rely on her first serve and instead hits her fourth double fault, bringing them back to an even game. Both players are visibly nervous and neither has settled into their game yet.
Yastremska takes a 2-0 lead against Zheng, who appears to be stuck at the net after returning a second serve. Yastremska manages to hit an overhead shot for 0-15, and her strong forehand brings the score to 15-all. Zheng’s second serve is causing problems, as Yastremska is able to punish it with a cross-court shot. Yastremska takes control of the next point with two backhand shots, earning two break points. Although Zheng manages to bring the score to deuce, she ultimately loses the game after hitting a backhand into the net. Yastremska continues to attack whenever possible, hitting a great return and an inside-out backhand winner to secure the break. She seems to be the more skilled and confident player at the moment.
Yastremska takes the lead with a 1-0 score against Zheng. She starts off strong with a service winner, followed by a weak return and a missed backhand from Zheng, giving Yastremska a 40-0 advantage. However, Zheng quickly shows her skills with a well-placed forehand near the line, causing some tension in the match. But Yastremska shuts down the pressure with a powerful ace and successfully holds onto her serve.
Yastremska will begin the serve.
Our players have arrived!
I am unsure of what will occur in the second match, but I have a hunch that Yastremska may have an advantage with her diverse playing style compared to Zheng. Also, Yastremska may be feeling less pressure. On the other hand, Zheng has been serving well and if her forehand is effective, she will be a formidable opponent.
Next up: Dayana Yastremska (Q) versus Qinwen Zheng (12)
I am obligated to mention that during the competition, Sablenka was questioned about the Tour Finals relocating to Saudi Arabia. When asked about playing in Saudi, she responded with the following:
The experience was incredible and exceeded my expectations. The treatment we received was excellent and the atmosphere at the stadium was amazing. The locals have a strong passion for sports, particularly tennis. The overall hospitality was exceptional and far exceeded my previous experience in Cancun. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit.
Sabalenka stated that she has been putting her attention on her own game and anticipates that Gauff’s skills will require her to hit more shots. She expresses gratitude towards the audience who, despite not backing her before, now show their support. She truly relishes competing against Gauff because win or lose, the matches are highly competitive. The scene then transitions to a gloomy Sabalenka cooling down on the bike, as she finds it to be a constant challenge playing against Gauff.
During the interview, Jelena Dokic mentions both Billy-Jean and Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the 50th anniversary of their victory here. Sabalenka expresses her gratitude for the opportunity to play in front of them and signs a towel to be auctioned off for a domestic violence charity. She also offers another towel and is thanked for her generous and empathetic gesture.
Gauff leaves the match feeling disappointed as she was not playing at her best. However, she will acknowledge that she was outplayed by a superior opponent and will need to strategize before their next meeting. I am confident that she will do so, and this could potentially become a significant rivalry.
Gauff (2)6-7 4-5 Sabalenka* In the match, Gauff had a chance to return Sabalenka’s second serve, but her return was not strong enough and Sabalenka took advantage by hitting a powerful shot. However, Sabalenka made a mistake on her first serve, causing her to make a double fault. She then made up for it with an ace. Despite this, she overhit her next shot when she had Gauff out of position. This resulted in match point for Sabalenka. She tried a big serve, but it hit the net. However, she regained control of the rally with a strong backhand. But Gauff responded with a winning shot, bringing the score to deuce. Sabalenka wasn’t fazed and served an ace for her second match point. This time, her serve was too good for Gauff and she won the match without losing any sets. Sabalenka played exceptionally well throughout the match and looks like a force to be reckoned with in the next round.
At 2-6, 6-7, 4-5, Sabalenka leads Gauff. Gauff hits a backhand wide, causing her to lose a point. She then faults, causing concern for her chances. Sabalenka takes advantage of this by hitting a strong backhand winner. Gauff relies on her second serve again, but this time she confidently serves an ace down the T, tying the score at 30-all. Sabalenka struggles to return Gauff’s next serve, resulting in a powerful forehand winner from Gauff and a break point opportunity. Although Gauff saves the break point with her own winner, she makes an error that gives Sabalenka the advantage. Will this be the end of the match for Gauff? Sabalenka serves into the net, causing trouble, and her return goes deep. The pressure gets to Gauff, causing her to hit a backhand long and wide. This has been expected throughout the entire set, and Sabalenka will soon serve for the match. Can she maintain her lead? Can Gauff turn things around?
In the ongoing match, Gauff and Sabalenka are tied at 6-7 in the first set and 4-4 in the second set. Despite having opportunities to break, Sabalenka has not been able to capitalize and her performance has been lacking. A mistake on break point has now put her at a disadvantage of 0-30. However, she manages to redeem herself with a great serve out wide, although she hesitates before finishing the point and hits the top of the net. Her powerful forehand is still a major weapon and she uses it to turn the momentum in the next rally, letting out a yell of determination. After some impressive shots from both players, Sabalenka ultimately wins the game easily, maintaining her status as the superior and more confident player. However, everyone is aware that things can change quickly in tennis.
Gauff, with a score of 2, lost the first set 6-7 and is currently leading in the second set with a score of 4-3 against Sabalenka. Gauff made a mistake that caused her to lose the point, making her aware that any more mistakes could result in her losing the match. Sabalenka also knows this and made another error on her serve, giving Gauff a chance to catch up. However, in a moment of difficulty where she had to crouch to return a ball near the baseline, Gauff made another error and is now facing a break point. She managed to save the point and eventually won the game with a strong serve and some impressive shots. Gauff is showing determination and skill in this match, but will she be able to pull off some extraordinary moves to secure a win?
Gauff and Sabalenka are currently tied at 6 games to 7 in the first set and 3 games to 3 in the second set. Both players are playing well, with Sabalenka scoring points with strong backhand and service shots. However, there may come a moment where their nerves will affect their performance. For now, Sabalenka is responding to a winning shot by Gauff with a powerful shot of her own, bringing the score to 40-15. A return from Gauff goes out of bounds, bringing the second set back to a tie.
At this point in the match between Gauff and Sabalenka, Sabalenka has been the dominant player, with most points being won by her actions. However, Gauff may be gaining confidence as she serves an ace and wins a second-serve point to secure the game. It remains to be seen if Gauff has a strategy for increasing pressure when receiving.
Gauff (2)6-7 2-2 Sabalenka* However solid she becomes, Sabalenka and her opponents will always suspect that a collapse is possible, but she’s looking solid out there now – though she stands on her strings to loosen them in between points. She plays another decent game, holding to love, and even finishes it with a stretch-volley; she’ll be feeling good about that.
*Gauff (2)6-7 2-1 Sabalenka Gauff could really use a comfy hold, ideally with some first serves landed, and that’s what she gets – as much because Sabalenka misses than because she hits, but in the circumstances, she’ll take it.