Aryna Sabalenka ‘super happy’ with win, but bemoans schedule – ‘Why Carlos Alcaraz at 3pm?

Aryna Sabalenka celebrates

Aryna Sabalenka completed part one of her revenge mission as she beat Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Open, but part two will be far from easy as she was handed another tough scheduling slot.

Scheduling at big tournaments has become a hot topic in recent weeks and Sabalenka has once again drawn the short end of the stick at the joint ATP-WTA event in Ohio.

The second seed’s clash against Jabeur was played late on Friday and her next assignment is against Karolina Muchova, but instead of giving her another late slot so that she can recover, organisers have given her the 1:30pm match (17:30 GMT).

“I’m super happy to be in the semi-finals. Super happy to get this win back,” Sabalenka said before adding: “The only thing I was worried is the schedule. Everyone was complaining about schedule in Montreal. Just the same thing happen here. I was really disappointed.

“Why they would make this decision… why [Carlos] Alcaraz at 3 pm? I mean, I understand this is Alcaraz, everyone wants to see him play. They put him at 6pm. I just played the match not before 7pm. Finish, what, 9pm? I have to play one again tomorrow. I was thinking at least 3pm Just the only thing what makes me worried.”

As for her clash against Jabeur, the world No 2 won 7-5, 6-3 as she exacted revenge for her Wimbledon semi-final defeat at the hands of the Tunisian. Both sets had five breaks of serve and Sabalenka edged the count 3-2.

Part two of her revenge mission will see her face Muchova, who defeated her in the semi-final of the French Open, but the Belarusian is hopeful that the hard courts will give her an edge.

“I actually think this surface is really good for her style of game,” Sabalenka said. “But probably I felt more confidence on the hard court against her. I kind of know her a little bit better.

“I hope I’m going to take this win back. At least I’ll do everything I can, everything that is in my hands to get this win back.”

The other semi-final will see world No 1 Iga Swiatek take on Coco Gauff. Swiatek is 7-0 against the American and the teenager is yet to win a set against the four-time Grand Slam winner.

“I don’t have a good track record against [Swiatek],” Gauff said. “I feel like the [2023] French Open match that I played her, even though it was a straight-sets score line, I think I made some improvements against her since the last time I played her.

“I’m just really going to go out there and continue to follow the plan that I’ve been doing in the last couple of my matches. … I do feel a lot more confident going into it tomorrow. But she’s not an easy opponent to play, especially against me. I think I really just got to take it point by point and try to stay mentally engaged every ball.”

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