Aryna Sabalenka is one of the favorites to win the US Open this year.
The world number two overcame the 20-year-old Chinese player to win 6-1, 6-4 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Zheng was no match for Sabalenka’s big serve and powerful shots, as the Belarusian easily advanced to the semi-finals of the US Open.
After some notable players exited early, Sabalenka is the top seed in the draw and looks like the player to beat.
“I think I played great tennis today,” Sabalenka said in her on-court interview. “Very happy with the performance. I have another chance to do better in the semi-finals.”
She will face either Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova or American Madison Keys for a place in the final.
Sabalenka gives the ball back to Zheng at the US Open en route to victory.
Iga Švetic’s early exit from the US Open means that whatever happens, Sabalenka will become world No. 1 for the first time on Monday.
Her rise to the top of the world rankings comes after a remarkable year in which she won three titles, including her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
She continued this dominant form against Cheng in the quarter-finals, defeating her opponent in the first set, which lasted only 27 minutes.
The break between sets allowed Zheng to regroup and she began to grow into the match. The young player held her ground against Sabalenka, as the two players exchanged serves at the beginning of the second set.
This continued until the seventh game of the set, when Sabalenka was able to break the flexibility of Zeng to put her nose in front with a strong break of serve.
Try as she might, Zheng was unable to respond and the Belarusian settled the match easily.
This will be Sabalenka’s third consecutive US Open semifinal as she aims to win her second Grand Slam title in 2023.
Sabalenka – who has reached her fifth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final – has won the first seven major finals of her career, ranking second on the all-time list behind Chris Evert, who amazingly won her first 48 matches.
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