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French Open: Sabalenka ends Svitolina’s run to set up semifinal clash with Muchova (Ld)

World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka ended the brilliant resurgence of former World No.3 Elina Svitolina in straight games to book a semifinal clash with Czech Republic’s unseeded Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles competition at the French Open on Tuesday.

Australian Open winner Sabalenka, who had never been past the third round in Paris in five prior appearances, defeated Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals at the Roland Garros.

Svitoline, who is on a comeback from a break in her career for the birth of her first child, has had a fine run into the quarterfinals here which was ended by Sabalenka, who secured her maiden entry into the French Open semifinals.

For a place in her second Grand Slam final of the year, Sabalenka will next face unseeded Karolina Muchova, herself a former Top 20 player, as the Czech beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Tuesday’s other quarterfinal.

Facing Svitolina for the third time overall, and for the first time in three years, Sabalenka earned control of the match in the middle of each set. She won three straight games from 4-3 in the opener, after those seven went with serve, and won four in a row from 2-0 down in the second set.

Sabalenka, who completed her Grand Slam box set of last four appearances, now owns a tour-leading 34 match-wins in 2023 and will take on Karolina Muchova in the final four.

To replace Swiatek at the top of the rankings, Sabalenka must out-perform the Pole here in Paris.

Czech tennis player Karolina Muchova defeated 2021 finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2 and booked herself a maiden spot in the final four on Parisian clay.

With a win in an all-unseeded Roland-Garros quarterfinal between two former Top 20 players returning from injury, Muchova reached the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career, following the 2021 Australian Open.

An abdominal issue sidelined the Czech player for six months following the 2021 US Open, and at Roland Garros last year she sustained an ankle injury in the third round against Amanda Anisimova that saw her taken off the court in a wheelchair.

Muchova, whose career-high ranking is No.19, had fallen to No.235 last August. But her comeback has gathered pace this year: she had reached two WTA 1000 quarterfinals in Dubai and Indian Wells, as well as the last 16 in Rome, to rise back to her current ranking of 43. Her overall 2023 record now stands at 24-7

On the other hand, Pavlyuchenkova missed seven months of action due to a knee injury last year and is ranked No.333 in the world.

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