US Open Semifinal Preview: Jabeur vs. Garcia and Swiatek vs. Sabalenka

US Open Semifinal Preview: Jabeur vs. Garcia and Swiatek vs. Sabalenka

4 min read

Finals weekend is looming large on the horizon of the famous New York City skyline. Top seed Iga Swiatek remains in the hunt for her third Grand Slam, but she still has two opponents to get through, starting with Aryna Sabalenka. In the other semifinal, Ons Jabeur is looking to become the first Arab woman to win a Grand Slam after coming close at Wimbledon. She'll face an in-form Caroline Garcia.

It's time to preview Thursday's women's semifinals, with help from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.

(5) Ons Jabeur (12.96) vs. (17) Caroline Garcia (12.95)

Jabeur just reached the Wimbledon final and is favored to reach her second Grand Slam final in a row with 52% odds, per INSIGHTS, over Garcia. Jabeur is the most successful Arab player in history and has embraced her status as a role model.

The 28-year-old Tunisian has been in this prime position before and recently. She was favored to defeat Elena Rybakina in the Wimbledon final, losing in three sets. Jabeur then went 2-2 in the lead-up to the US Open and righted the ship in New York where she has lost just one set in five matches. At No. 17, Garcia will be the highest seed Jabeur has faced as she’s taken out No. 31 Shelby Rogers, No. 18 Veronika Kudermetova, and Ajla Tomljanovic.

Caroline Garcia's best result before this fortnight was the Roland Garros quarterfinals. (AP Photo: Charles Krupa)

Meanwhile, Garcia, also 28, had a very different month. She’s riding a 13-match win streak after snagging her biggest title in Cincinnati. Jabeur has the edge in career meetings with two wins over Garcia, though not since the 2020 Australian Open. A losing record means little to Garcia right now as she’s scored first-ever career wins over Alison Riske-Amritraj and Coco Gauff.

The Frenchwoman is the only player remaining who has not lost a set. She’s extremely familiar with Jabeur’s unique game as the two have grown up playing junior tennis together.

“Especially in juniors, it was really rare to play someone doing so much drop shots, slicing in the backhand,” Garcia said. “She was really changing a lot the balls. She was very tricky already to play. Now she’s even more . She’s in the Top 5 in the world, made the final in Wimbledon. She has improved a lot. It’s a great challenge. It’s great to see players, we have been growing up together. It’s nice to see that we made it to the top.”

(1) Iga Swiatek (13.25) vs. (6) Aryna Sabalenka (12.75)

Sabalenka has flown under the radar this year as she struggled with her serve and consistency (reaching two finals but losing six opening rounds), but it certainly looks like she’s saved her best for New York. The 24-year-old took out 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova in straight sets on Wednesday.

“I think I start really well, and the first set was really high level for me and put a lot of pressure on her,” Sabalenka said. “First set was really great. In the second set, I knew she will kind of to come back, and she will do better. I just tried to hold my serve and try to put her under pressure on her serve.”

Aryna Sabalenka has found her rhythm in Queens this fortnight. (AP Photo: Adam Hunger)

She’s looking to reach her first Grand Slam final on Thursday when she takes on Swiatek. Swiatek managed to subdue eighth-seeded Jessica Pegula on Wednesday night, 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach her ninth semifinal of the year.

The 21-year-old Pole has been the most dominant force on the WTA Tour in 2022 with 51 wins and a whopping six titles including her second Roland Garros trophy. Swiatek has a 3-1 record against Sabalenka with all three of her wins taking place in 2022 (in the Doha quarterfinals, Stuttgart final, and Rome semifinals). All three of her wins over the Belarusian were in straight sets, and she actually has yet to give up more than three games a set.

Men's Semifinals to Unfold on Friday

Frances Tiafoe (15.49) backed up his upset of Rafael Nadal to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal with a three-set win over Andrey Rublev (15.49). He will take on Carlos Alcaraz (15.90) after the 19-year-old Spaniard fought past Jannik Sinner (15.82) in an over five-hour marathon. The other men's semifinal will pit Casper Ruud (15.76) against Karen Khachanov (15.43).

Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 12:00 p.m. EST, September 7, 2022.

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