Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the US Open quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Krejcikova has been very busy this year, playing a lot of high quality tennis, culminating with that amazing title run at the French Open. The Czech player has been great in this recent hard court swing too, winning a title in Prague, reaching the quarters at Cincinnati and the quarters here at the US Open. Krejcikova is yet to lose a set so far in the tournament, defeating Sharma, Mchale, Rakhimova and Muguruza, all in straight.
Aryna Sabalenka has had an amazing 12 months or so, putting together a run which saw her rise to the number 2 spot in the rankings in August. A semifinalist at Montreal last month, Sabalenka struggled in the first round at the US Open for two sets against Stojanovic, but has been unstoppable since, winning all her sets in dominating fashion (6-0, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1). Her victims? Stojanovic, Zidansek, Collins and Mertens. Very solid wins.
Sabalenka won the only H2H meeting last year in Linz, on indoor hard courts, 7-5 4-6 6-3.
This looks like it should be a hell of a match on paper, but I actually believe Sabalenka has a chance to run away with it. The main reason? Krejcikova’s fitness.
Krejcikova really struggled to close out her 4th round match against Muguruza. She was leading 4-0 in the second set, but then started having trouble breathing (according to her) and just began to look weak and powerless. Muguruza came back and almost pushed the match into a decider, where you have to think she would have won. But some gutsy play from Krejcikova down the stretch, combined with Muguruza’s errors, allowed the Czech player to escape with a 6-3 7-6 win.
Krejcikova played so much tennis all year, including in the last couple of months, and not only in singles, but in doubles too (she won gold in Tokyo)! Deep runs almost every week, singles and doubles. It’s looking like fatigue might begin to settle in.
If the Roland Garros champion is not at her best, she will be in for a long night. She often seemed overpowered and helpless against Muguruza, when the Spaniard was on her game and not blowing errors all over the place. Sabalenka has even bigger power, and she is much more consistent than Muguruza right now.
I’m liking Sabalenka a lot here, her time is coming, and her recent semifinal at Wimbledon showed she is now ready to perform on the biggest stage (something she wasn’t quite able to do before). Maybe Krejcikova recovers or maybe not, but this “maybe” is enough to create value on Sabalenka in my eyes. Plus, Aryna is more than capable of beating a healthy Krejcikova too.
I’m taking the Belarusian with 8/10 units here. Prediction: Barbora Krejcikova – Aryna Sabalenka 4-6 0-6.