Sabalenka moves into Madrid Open semis, Medvedev upset by Karatsev

Sabalenka moves into Madrid Open semis, Medvedev upset by Karatsev


World number two Aryna Sabalenka denied unseeded Egyptian Mayar Sherif the biggest victory of her career when the Belarusian came back from a set down to win their Madrid Open quarter-final 2-6 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday.

Sabalenka was not at her best and made 37 unforced errors in the match, but the Australian Open champion bounced back midway through the second set to win 10 games in a row and take control.

Sherif, who has won just one WTA 250 title in her career, was gifted the first game of the match, winning all her points through unforced errors from Sabalenka to break the Belarusian before building a 3-1 lead.

Sabalenka saved a set point at 5-1 but Sherif, playing in her first WTA 1000 quarter-final after beating three seeded players, served out to take the opening set.

The Egyptian took the lead in the second set too before Sabalenka, who was a break down, finally found her groove to break four times and force a decider.

The 2021 champion then showed no mercy in the third as she raced into a 5-0 lead before Sherif got on the board. But that only delayed the inevitable as Sabalenka sealed victory with a winner down the line.

"Honestly I was just trying to keep fighting and keep playing my game. She played unbelievable tennis, she's a claycourt specialist and I'm very happy with this win," Sabalenka said.

In the men's draw, Russian Aslan Karatsev rattled second seed Daniil Medvedev with his powerful groundstrokes to upset his fellow Russian and clinch a 7-6(1) 6-4 win to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Karatsev, ranked 121 in the world, has now beaten world number three Medvedev twice in his career with both wins coming on clay.

"I'm feeling great, playing well, I just have to focus every match, so I will be prepared for the next one," Karatsev said.

"(Against top players) you just concentrate more, you have to be 100%, you have to focus more because they do not give you any free points. You have to be consistent and mentally tough, so I think I'm doing well."