Sabalenka overpowers Keys to reach semifinals

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LONDON — Aryna Sabalenka reached the semifinals at Wimbledon for the second straight time, with a one-year break in between because she was banned from the tournament in 2022.

Sabalenka, a Belarusian who is seeded second at the All England Club, had to sit out last year’s competition along with other players from her country and from Russia because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She advanced Wednesday by beating Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4 on No. 1 Court.

“It really feels amazing to be back in the semifinals. I can’t wait to play in my second semifinal at Wimbledon,” said Sabalenka, who lost to runner-up Karolina Pliskova in 2021. “Hopefully I can do better than I did last time.”

The victory improved Sabalenka’s record to 17-1 at major tournaments this year. She won the Australian Open and reached the semifinals at the French Open before her five wins so far on the grass at Wimbledon.

Sabalenka also improved her record to 6-0 in Grand Slam quarterfinal matches, and she did so despite much of the cheering going toward Keys on Wednesday.

“Thank you so much for the atmosphere, even though you supported her more,” Sabalenka said on court. “I still enjoyed playing in front of you guys.”

Sabalenka will next face either defending champion Elena Rybakina or Ons Jabeur. They were playing in another quarterfinal match on Centre Court.

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