By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, September 2, 2023
NEW YORK—Screaming shots launched from Aryna Sabalenka’s Wilson Blade echoed with menace throughout Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The second-seeded Sabalenka has yet to step on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but she’s been too busy blasting through the week one field to dwell on it.
Sabalenka broke five time crushing Clara Burel 6-1, 6-1 to rampage into the US Open fourth round for the third straight year.
An oppressive Sabalenka has permitted just 12 games through three rounds and needed only an hour to dismiss Burel, wrapping up her best win of the tournament before many fans had even settled into their seats.
“I’m super happy with the performance today. I think I played really great tennis today,” Sabalenka said. “Just super happy with this win…
“I felt good and ready to go.”
The woman sporting the colorful Tiger tattoo on her left forearm is restoring the roar in her major march and achieving a milestone in the process.
Australian Open champion Sabalenka scored her 47th win of the season, a personal-best for most wins in a season, and temporarily edged ahead of world No. 1 Iga Swiatek for the top spot in the live rankings.
In order for Sabalenka to surpass Swiatek and reach world No. 1 for the first time, she must at least equal the reigning Roland Garros and US Open champion’s result in Flushing Meadows.
Sabalenka, who is riding a streak of four straight Grand Slam semifinals or better, will take on Daria Kasatkina for a trip to her third consecutive US Open quarterfinal. The 13th-seeded Kasatkina carved out a 6-3, 6-4 win over Greet Minnen.
The second-seeded Sabalenka said while she’s been shut out of Ashe so far, she’s happy to keep making noise in Armstrong Stadium.
“Of course I have noticed that. Of course I would like to play on Ashe,” Sabalenka said. “It’s different atmosphere. Louis Armstrong giving me so much support and I like playing there, but yeah, I hope that next match will be on Ashe.
“No pressure. I feel good on Louis. Feel good on Ashe. It’s, yeah, whatever.”
Photo credit: Manuela Davies/USTA/US Open