Aryna Sabalenka has confirmed she will not compete at the Olympic Games in Paris next month in order to prioritise her health. 

The world number three retained her Australian Open title at the start of the year but suffered defeat in the quarter-finals of the French Open at Roland-Garros.

The Belarusian's loss was her first before the semi-final stage of a major tournament since 2022, and she intends to rest ahead of the for the hard-court season which begins at the US Open 22 games after the Olympics. 

"I prefer to have a little rest to make sure physically and health-wise I'm ready for the hard courts," said Sabalenka, who was the runner-up last year in New York. 

"Especially with all the struggles I've been struggling with the last months, I feel I have to take care of my health.

"It's too much for the scheduling and I made the decision to take care of my health."

Sabalenka is currently in Germany preparing for the Berlin Open, and faces Daria Kasatkina in the last 16 of the competition, having come from a set down to beat Marta Kostyuk on Monday. 

Mirra Andreeva upset ailing world number two Aryna Sabalenka in three sets on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the French Open.

Sabalenka was bidding to reach the final four of a grand slam for a ninth time, but instead Andreeva recovered from behind 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 to reach her maiden major semi.

The 17-year-old Russian will now face Jasmine Paolini, who stunned Elena Rybakina 6-2 4-6 6-4 earlier in the day in Paris to also reach her first grand slam semi-final.

After a tense and tight opening set in which the serve was lost in four of the first five games, Sabalenka ultimately stood firm to prevail in the tie-break.

The second set followed a similar pattern as Andreeva and then Sabalenka lost serve in the opening two games, but it was the teenager who this time managed to find her footing.

Sabalenka, who was struggling with an injury throughout, did herself manage to instantly hit back after losing serve in the sixth game, only for Andreeva to break in the 10th.

That ensured the match went the distance, much to the delight of the crowd, and it was the underdog who showed nerves of steel to eliminate the much-fancied Sabalenka.

A deep backhand return from Sabalenka brought up three break points, which the Belarusian took at the first attempt to make it 3-2, but that proved a false dawn.

Andreeva broke back in the sixth, roaring with delight in doing so, and held until the 10th game when sending a backhand winner down the line for match point.

Data Debrief: Age just a number for amazing Andreeva

Andreeva, aged 17 years and 37 days, is the youngest women's singles grand slam semi-finalist since Martina Hingis in 1997 at the US Open, and the youngest at the French Open since Hingis the same year.

The Russian is also the youngest to defeat a top-two opponent in a women's singles grand slam since Jelena Dokic against Hingis at Wimbledon in 1999, and the youngest in this tournament since Monica Seles against Steffi Graf in 1990.

Elena Rybakina suffered a stunning quarter-final exit from the French Open on Wednesday, an error-strewn performance being punished by Italy's Jasmine Paolini.

World number four Rybakina had been tipped to challenge Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka for the Roland Garros crown, but she only had herself to blame as her opponent reached her first career grand slam semi-final with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory.

The Kazakhstani did not look right from the get-go, committing a huge 16 unforced errors to Paolini's one in the opening set, during which the Italian only lost one point on her own serve.

It was more of the same at the start of the second set as a double fault allowed Paolini to clinch an early break with a ferocious cross-court backhand. 

Rybakina did steady the ship by breaking straight back, and she seemed to be in the ascendency when she kicked on to take the second set with two further breaks.

However, errors crept back into her game in a decider that began with four straight breaks of serve. Paolini grew in confidence again, breaking again then getting through a nervy final service game, a long forehand from Rybakina on match point summing up her performance.

Data Debrief: Late bloomer Paolini savours greatest win

Paolini's victory made her just the fifth player this century to make her first grand slam quarter-final at Roland Garros while aged 28 or older, after Elena Likhovtseva (2005), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2021) and fellow Italians Francesca Schiavone (2010) and Martina Trevisan (2022).

She will face either Mirra Andreeva or Sabalenka in the last four. With Jannik Sinner also flying the flag, this year's French Open will be the first in the Open Era to feature Italian semi-finalists in both the men's and women's draws.

Aryna Sabalenka highlighted her consistency as key after reaching her ninth career grand slam quarter-final with a dominant victory over Emma Navarro at the French Open.

The world number two became the youngest woman to make seven grand slam quarter-finals in a row since Venus Williams 20 years ago with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over the American. 

The last major where Sabalenka was not involved in the last eight was the 2022 edition of Wimbledon, when Russian and Belarusian players were banned due to the war in Ukraine.

The two-time Australian Open champion is attempting to become the first woman to win the season's first two majors since Serena Williams in 2015. 

After gaining revenge over an opponent who beat her at Indian Wells three months ago, Sabalenka said of her run of quarter-finals: "It sounds crazy to me, to be honest.

"I'm super happy that I was able to bring this consistency at the grand slams. It's motivating me a lot to keep pushing myself a lot and to see where the limit is.

"With the sun out it is definitely more positive. We had a difficult few days last week with the weather, but now the roof is open with beautiful conditions. It was a little windy, but I was myself and tried to do my best.

"It was a tough battle. I went into it wanting to fight for every point. I expected long rallies. I had to fight to get the win.

"She is a tough opponent, but I am happy to get through the match."

Sabalenka faces either 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva or French favourite Varvara Gracheva in the next round. 

Aryna Sabalenka crushed Emma Navarro in straight sets to advance to the French Open quarter-finals, requiring just 71 minutes to clinch a 6-2 6-3 victory.

World number two Sabalenka had reached the last 16 without dropping a single set, only losing more than two games in one of six sets of tennis at this year's tournament.

It was more of the same on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Monday, the two-time grand slam winner's power and poise giving world number 22 Navarro few chances to make it a contest.

Sabalenka set the tone by breaking in the very first service game and was a set up within 32 minutes, winning 13 of 14 points behind her first serve in the opener. 

Another quick break meant the second set followed a similar pattern, and though Navarro came through a couple of tough service games, she only delayed the inevitable as Sabalenka teed up a last-eight clash with either Varvara Gracheva or Mirra Andreeva.

Data Debrief: No denying Sabalenka

Sabalenka was beaten in her only previous meeting with Navarro at Indian Wells earlier this year, but she gave the American little hope of a repeat on Monday.

The victory made her just the seventh woman to make seven consecutive grand slam quarter-finals this century, after Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams and Serena Williams.

The last major where Sabalenka was not involved in the last eight was the 2022 edition of Wimbledon, when Russian and Belarusian players were banned due to the war in Ukraine.

Aryna Sabalenka recovered from a slow start to eventually advance to the French Open last 16 a commanding 7-5 6-1 victory over best friend Paula Badosa.

The second seed trailed 4-2 and was a break down in the opening set, but went on to win 11 of the next 13 games to seal a fourth-round clash with either Madison Keys or Emma Navarro. 

Sabalenka has dropped just seven games in her opening two matches at Roland-Garros.

Although, it looked like she may lose the opening set when a fortuitous net shot gave Badosa a second break and a 4-2 lead on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

However, she dug deep from 5-3 adrift, winning the last four games to draw first blood.

The reigning Australian Open champion broke her opponent a further two times on the way to a commanding 4-0 advantage in the second.

Badosa did well to save three match points from 0-40 in game six, but the Spaniard could not rescue a fourth as her opponent continued her surge into the second week.

Data Debrief: Sabalenka completes top four in last 16

Following on from her victories when they met in Miami and Stuttgart earlier this season, Sabalenka became the first player to beat Badosa three times at WTA events in a calendar year.

Joining Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina, this marks the first time since 2013 that the top four seeds are through to the last 16 in the women's singles at Roland-Garros.

Aryna Sabalenka paid tribute to "great fighter" Paula Badosa and is relishing the opportunity to play her best friend on the WTA Tour in the French Open third round.

The pair have endured contrasting fortunes in their opening two matches at Roland-Garros this week.

Sabalenka has dropped just seven games on the way to straight-set victories over Erika Andreeva and Moyuka Uchijima, while Badosa has come from behind to beat Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva.

The reigning Australian Open champion - fresh from reaching successive clay-court finals in Madrid and Rome - cannot wait to face the Spaniard, but acknowledged their friendship will be put aside when they collide.

"She's my favourite," Sabalenka said. "I love her so much. I love to see her play, and she's really a great fighter, so it's always great matches.

"It's always tough to play your friend, really your best friend on tour, but we know how to manage that. We know how to separate court and life. So, it's always a great battle, a great fight against her. I always enjoy playing against her."

Sabalenka has won each of the last four meetings between the players, though the most recent in Stuttgart earlier this year ended prematurely with an emotional Badosa forced to retire injured. 

The former world number two has endured a seemingly endless battle with injuries in recent times, with a back problem forcing her to miss the second half of last season and seeing her drop out of the WTA's top 100.

"She has a big personality," Badosa said of her opponent. "She always brings this good energy, even on court. She's a very active, very intense player.

"I'm really looking forward to that match. I think the last time [in Stuttgart], it finished in a sad way. I learned a lot from that match. I think it was a very good one from both sides.

"Sharing the court with her - after all these results she's getting - is a pleasure for me, because this past year hasn't been easy. Playing this kind of match makes it all worth it."

Aryna Sabalenka swept through to the third round of the French Open with a straight-sets victory over qualifier Moyuka Uchijima on Thursday.

It only took 62 minutes for Sabalenka to secure a 6-2 6-2 win, with the second seed not being broken throughout the contest.

Rival Iga Swiatek had to come through a bruising battle against Naomi Osaka to reach the last 32 a day earlier, but there were no such complications for dominant Sabalenka against a Japanese opponent as she raced to victory.

She broke Uchijima twice in each set and racked up 27 winners in the match, coming out on top in 11 of her 14 points at the net.

The match was level at 2-2 until Sabalenka won four straight games to clinch the first set, not offering up a single break-point opportunity to Uchijima in the opener. She then had few issues closing it out in the second.

Data Debrief: Swiatek and Sabalenka set the standard

Sabalenka (60 wins) has now become only the second player to achieve 60 or more women's singles match wins at grand slam events since the start of the 2020 season, only trailing Swiatek, who has 67.

This win means she has made it to the third round at Roland Garros for five straight editions. Sabalenka is hoping to better her semi-final berth from last season, having made the final at the WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome – losing to Swiatek each time – ahead of her campaign in Paris.

Sabalenka will next face former world number two Paula Badosa in a marquee third-round clash. The Spanish player progressed after battling back from a set down to defeat Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-1 7-5.

 

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka emphatically progressed to the second round of the French Open with victory over Erika Andreeva on Tuesday.

Australian Open champion Sabalenka won 6-1 6-2 in just 68 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the first career meeting between the two players.

There were 27 winners from Sabalenka and just nine from Andreeva, who only showed the briefest resistance with a sole break early in the second set.

But strong favourite Sabalenka, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, made an instant response by breaking back, ultimately winning five of the final six games to ruthlessly close out the victory.

She will play a qualifier – either Irene Burillo Escorihuela or Moyuka Uchijima – in the next round of the competition.

Data Debrief: Sabalenka extends first-round streak

Sabalenka has now won each of her last 15 first-round matches at grand slam tournaments, not suffering defeat at the first hurdle since a clash against Carla Suarez Navarro at the Australian Open in January 2020. 

She has also won six R1 matches in a row at the French Open, not suffering an opening-round loss in Paris since the 2018 edition.

Sabalenka will continue her bid to become the first female player to win both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in a calendar year since Serena Williams in 2015. Her record on clay this season is now improved to a healthy 12-3.

Andreeva, meanwhile, was always likely to find the going tough and won just eight of her 23 points on first serve as she was broken five times across the contest. The 19-year-old is yet to reach a grand slam second round.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka are at the very pinnacle of the women's game, and over the past month, have been battling it out for glory on the clay courts of Madrid and Rome.

The duo have met twice in the finals of the past two WTA 1000 events, with Swiatek coming out on top on both occasions.

Swiatek needed a third-set tie-breaker to win an epic Madrid Open final, though she got the job done in straight sets at the Italian Open, as the Pole made it eight wins to three from her 11 career contests with Sabalenka.

Since 1990, only Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario have faced each other more often in WTA level clay finals (10 times) than Swiatek and Sabalenka (five), and if the top two seeds get their way at Roland-Garros, they will be vying it out for the 2024 French Open title in two weeks' time.

Sensational Swiatek hunts a treble

Swiatek, who does not turn 23 until Friday, already has three French Open titles under her belt, having won in 2020, 2022 and 2023.

The Pole is aiming to become the third player in the Open Era to win the women's singles title at Roland-Garros for three consecutive years, after Monica Seles (1990-92) and Justine Henin (2005-07).

She is one of six players in the Open Era to have won the title without dropping a set, a feat she managed at the 2020 edition. The other players on that list are: Evonne Goolagong (1971), Billie Jean King (1972), Chris Evert (1974), Steffi Graf (1988), and Henin (2006-07).

Margaret Court holds the best winning percentage in the women's singles at Roland-Garros in the Open Era, at 95.2 per cent. Among active players, with a minimum of 10 matches played, Swiatek (93.3 per cent) holds the highest winning percentage at the event.

Swiatek was 19 when she won her first French Open crown, joining Jelena Ostapenko (2017) as the only teenagers to triumph at Roland-Garros since the turn of the century.

Last year, Swiatek claimed a third women’s singles title at Roland-Garros from five appearances in the main draw at the event. In the Open Era, only Court (three out of four, 75 per cent) holds a better title win rate from main draws entered at the tournament.

Since the WTA-1000 format’s introduction in 2009, Swiatek could become only the second player to claim victory at the Madrid Open, Italian Open and Roland-Garros in a calendar year after Serena Williams (2013).

The world number one will start her campaign against Leolia Jeanjean, and has already scooped four titles this year, taking her overall tally to 21.

The omens are not great for Jeanjean. In the Open Era, the top seed in the women’s singles at Roland-Garros has lost in the opening round only once, with Angelique Kerber falling to Ekaterina Makarova in 2017.

"I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I'm No. 1," Swiatek said on Friday.

"So, I think actually I'm more proud of what's happening right now, and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path."

Third time lucky for Sabalenka?

In the event that Swiatek and second seed Sabalenka meet in the final, it will be the fifth clay-court meeting between the pair as the WTA’s number one and number two, surpassing Martina Navratilova and Evert for the most meetings on the surface in the past 40 years as the WTA’s top two-ranked players. 

Given her recent misfortune against Swiatek, mind, Sabalenka will no doubt be hoping the reigning champion falters this time around, leaving her with a clearer run to glory.

The Belarusian could become the first player to claim the women’s singles titles at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros in a calendar year since Williams in 2015.

Sabalenka, who is the player with the most winners on clay in 2024 (447), has already reached four finals this season, only to come up short in three of them. Erika Andreeva is her first-round opponent.

The other challengers

It is not just Swiatek and Sabalenka that will be gunning for glory in Paris over the next fortnight.

Coco Gauff is looking to become the youngest American woman to win the singles title at the French Open since Evert in 1975, while only Swiatek (36) has won more WTA main draw matches than Elena Rybakina in 2024 (30).

World number three Gauff, who lost to Swiatek in the French Open final two years ago, could become the fourth player since 2000 to make multiple finals at Roland-Garros before turning 21, along with Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Swiatek.

Meanwhile, either Rybakina or Marketa Vondrousova could become the fifth player since 2000 to win both Wimbledon and Roland-Garros, along with Ashleigh Barty, Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova and Williams. That's not bad company to be keeping.

Having reached three grand slam finals across 2022 and 2023, Ons Jabeur has endured a frustrating season so far, dropping to world number nine just ahead of 2017 champion Ostapenko, heading into what promises to be an enthralling battle.

Iga Swiatek stormed to her third Italian Open title following a dominant 6-2 6-3 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

The world number one took just under an hour-and-a-half to deny the world number two, and complete a hat-trick of triumphs in Rome.

The pair were contesting a second final in as many events, with Swiatek saving three championship points before eventually prevailing in the Madrid Open showpiece a fortnight ago.

However, it was one-way traffic this time around. The Pole converted two out of three break points as she controlled the opening set.

Sabalenka was the last player to deny Swiatek in a WTA final, that coming at last year's Madrid Open.

Although, the second seed was helpless as her opponent broke again in game seven of the second set, before wrapping up a fourth title of the season ahead of the French Open later this month.

Data debrief

Landing her third Italian Open title before turning 23, Swiatek is only the second player to achieve that feat after Gabriela Sabatini.

In fact, at 22 years and 352 days old, she is the youngest player to win 10 WTA 1000 titles since the introduction of the format in 2009.

The Pole also became the third player to triumph in Madrid and Rome during the same season, after Dinara Safina (2009) and Serena Williams (2013).

Aryna Sabalenka defeated Danielle Collins 7-5 6-2 to set up yet another meeting with Iga Swiatek at the Italian Open.

Having defeated Collins en route to the final of the Madrid Open, which she lost to Swiatek, Sabalenka repeated the trick with a straight sets win over the American in Thursday's semi-final.

And the Belarusian's reward will be an immediate rematch with Swiatek.

The duo have met 10 times, including in Madrid earlier this month, with Swiatek winning seven times and Sabalenka claiming three victories.

This will be Sabalenka's first appearance in the Italian Open final.

She is the sixth player, along with Simona Halep (2017), Dinara Safina (2009), Serena Williams (2013), Ons Jabeur (2022), and Swiatek (2024) to have reached the final of both Madrid and Rome in the same season.

Data Debrief: Perfect record

Collins is the only player against whom Sabalenka has registered six wins without a loss in WTA events, while only against Maria Sakkari and Elise Mertens does she have more wins in her career in such events (seven each).

The final will mark the fourth meeting on clay between Swiatek and Sabalenka as world number one and two, equalling Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the most meetings on the surface as the WTA's top-two ranked players.

Aryna Sabalenka is through to her second Italian Open semi-final after a straight-sets victory over Jelena Ostapenko on Wednesday.

The Belarusian, who recovered from a lower back injury sustained in her previous match against Elina Svitolina, breezed through 6-2, 6-4 after just 72 minutes on the court.

Sabalenka broke her serve in the third and fifth games, with Ostapenko opening the door with two double faults, while a single break in the seventh game settled the second set.

The second seed almost let it slip with her only double fault but came back with two big serves to close out the win.

Sabalenka will face Danielle Collins or Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final on Friday. 

Data Debrief: Top 10

Sabalenka (10) has become only the second player to reach 10 or more WTA-1000 semi-finals since the start of the 2020 season, along with Iga Swiatek (16).

With Sabalenka joining Swiatek and Coco Gauff, it is the first time the WTA’s top three players have reached the semi-final at the same WTA event since Roland Garros in 2013 – excluding the WTA Tour Finals.

Sabalenka has spent the most time out on the court in WTA clay events in 2024, with this match bringing her up to 25 hours and 34 minutes.

 

Aryna Sabalenka dominated Dayana Yastremska to reach the fourth round of the Italian Open on Sunday.

Sabalenka, who claimed Australian Open glory for the second time earlier this year without dropping a set, eased to a 6-4 6-2 victory over Yastremska.

Yastremska headed into the third-round contest having beaten Sabalenka in all three of their previous meetings, but the world number two found a crucial break of serve in the seventh game of the opening set before going on to hold twice more to take the ascendancy.

Yastremska's resolve was broken further in an epic third game of the second set, surviving six break points before Sabalenka finally got over the line to tighten her grip on the match.

Sabalenka didn't look back from there, breaking Yastremska again before going on to seal her place in the fourth round.

Sabalenka will take on either Sara Errani or Anna Kalinskaya in the fourth round as she looks to win the Italian Open for the first time ahead of the French Open later this month, where she will bid to improve on her semi-final appearance last year.

Data debrief

Since 2018, when Sabalenka achieved her first WTA 1000 win, she is now the player with the joint-most wins in such events (90, equalling Iga Swiatek).

Sabalenka may have lost her three previous games against Yastremska, but the last meeting between the pair was in 2020, and the two-time grand slam champion showed how much her game has progressed since then as she won all nine of her service games while breaking her Ukrainian opponent three times on her way to victory.

Iga Swiatek will not rest on her laurels after overcoming Aryna Sabalenka in last week's Madrid Open final, pledging to learn from that gruelling battle ahead of the Italian Open.

Swiatek toppled Sabalenka in an enthralling battle between the world's top two players on Saturday, saving three championship points en route to a 7-5 4-6 7-6 (9-7) win in over three hours on court.

The world number one has now won every European clay court tournament at WTA 500 level or higher, including back-to-back triumphs in Rome in 2021 and 2022.

As she prepares to open her Italian Open campaign against either Caroline Dolehide or a qualifier on Friday, Swiatek is determined to ensure she does not let her level drop.

Speaking during an appearance on the WTA Insider Podcast, Swiatek said: "I feel like after such a match, I deserve a two-month vacation, but I can't have that so I'll trade it for six tiramisus or something!

"I can let it go and rest and just forget about it, or I can really take a big lesson from it, so it depends on what is going to happen in the next few weeks in terms of how I analyse it."

Swiatek's latest win – her seventh in 10 meetings with Sabalenka – saw her put further distance between herself and the world number two in the WTA rankings.

However, the four-time grand slam champion knows she cannot afford to let up, given the fierce competition on the WTA tour.

"I'm not thinking about Aryna when I'm practising, but it's more that I know that the competition is big and if I stop for a while I might be pushed out," Swiatek said.

"But I had this kind of thing in Rome 2022, with the final against Ons [Jabeur]. Physically, I was so tired. The rallies were long, Ons was playing a pretty tricky game. 

"So after that game for the next few years, when I was doing the worst practices on court and I was dying, I was thinking about that game."

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