HomeSportsSabalenka eases past Ostapenko to reach Italian Open semifinals. Tabilo extends his...

Sabalenka eases past Ostapenko to reach Italian Open semifinals. Tabilo extends his surprising run


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ROME (AP) — Aryna Sabalenka showed no ill-effects from her previous marathon match as she eased past Jelena Ostapenko to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open on Wednesday.

The second-seeded Sabalenka needed just 73 minutes to win 6-2, 6-4, setting up match point with an ace and then sealing the result when Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, returned into the net.

In men’s action, 29th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo of Chile extended his surprising run by beating Zhang Zhizhen 6-3, 6-4 to follow up his upset victories over Novak Djokovic and Karen Khachanov in the previous two rounds.

Tabilo, who hasn’t dropped a set during his first appearance in Rome, served an ace down the T on his first match point.

In his first Masters series semifinal, Tabilo will face either 2017 champion Alexander Zverev or 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz, who were playing later.

The other quarterfinal matches are scheduled for Thursday. Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Nicolas Jarry — another Chilean — and Hubert Hurkacz plays Tommy Paul.

Sabalenka, who didn’t allow the ninth-seeded Ostapenko a break opportunity, showed no sign of the back problem that required treatment during Monday’s three-setter against Elina Svitolina that ended well after midnight local time.

The 26-year-old Sabalenka said she didn’t even practice on Tuesday and focused instead on treatment and recovery. And that clearly paid off.

“I would definitely say that it was the best performance of the tournament,” Sabalenka said. “I’m super happy that I was able to play without pain today and hopefully with every day I will feel better and better, and I will recover as good as I can for the next match.”

Sabalenka will next face the winner of the match later Wednesday between Victoria Azarenka and Danielle Collins.

All three top-ranked women have reached the final four in Rome as the other semifinal pits the top-ranked Iga Swiatek against No. 3 Coco Gauff.

Rome is the last big warmup tournament on clay before the French Open starts in 11 days.

AP tennis:

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