Aryna Sabalenka reflects on ‘magically’ turning around Madison Keys US Open semi-final

Aryna Sabalenka US Open 2023

Aryna Sabalenka admits she “doesn’t know” how she was able to “somehow magically” come back to win her US Open semi-final with Madison Keys.

The world No 2 revealed she kept reminding herself of the tough matches she has lost as she tried to stay alive and described it as one of her best comebacks.

Sabalenka trailed 0-6, 3-5 and survived world No 17 Keys serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, before recovering to prevail 0-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(5).

The Australian Open champion will face world No 6 Coco Gauff in the women’s singles final on Saturday after the American defeated Karolina Muchova. It will be a first US Open final for both players.

The 25-year-old will overtake Iga Swiatek to become world No 1 for the first time in her career following the tournament.

Following her semi-final escape act, Sabalenka admitted the level Keys was producing in the contest largely took control out of her hands.

“Yeah, it was crazy. I was all over the place. I was just, like, what can I do? Like, she’s playing unbelievable, just, like, crushing everything,” said the Belarusian in her post-match press conference.

“I’m not able to do anything, like, I had zero control in the match. I was just, like, I was just keep telling myself, I mean, okay, there is going to be this like this? Somebody going to just play their best tennis?

“You just have to keep trying, keep staying there, and keep pushing it. Maybe you’ll be able to turn around this game. Lucky me, somehow magically, I don’t know how I was able to turn around this game.”

Sabalenka, who lost close three-set semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon this year, explained she used those experiences to help her this time.

“Obviously I was keep reminding myself that I lost a lot of tough matches. I mean, one day all those matches should just, like, help me somehow,” continued the 25-year-old.

“This kind of, like, thinking help me to stay in the game and give me some hope that I’ll be able to turn around this match that, the match is not over until the last point and that I just have to keep fighting, keep trying to find my rhythm, my game, just find myself. Magically I finally found the game, and I was able to turn around this match and to get this win.”

She also highlighted the victory as one of the finest comebacks of her career.

“I think about comebacks. Last year I had incredible comeback from 1-5 against [Kaia] Kanepi. But all of those comebacks are different. This one definitely was one of the best ones (smiling). I’m really proud that I was able to turn around this match,” added Sabalenka.

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