BEIJING (AP) — Elena Rybakina advanced to her eighth semifinal of the year by beating top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-2 Friday at the China Open.
In their third meeting of the year, after splitting the two finals they have contested this season, the fifth-seeded Rybakina was dominant on serve, hitting 12 aces and never faced a break point.
“I played really well today,” Rybakina said. “I served really well, so I’m really happy with my performance today. It’s always tough battles against Aryna and I really enjoy playing against her.”
In the semifinals, Rybakina will face unseeded Liudmila Samsonova, who earlier defeated 13th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2.
Sabalenka had only four aces and eight double-faults, including two in the 11th game of the first set, and was broken another three times in the second.
Second-seeded Iga Swiatek also advanced by defeating Caroline Garcia 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-1.
With Swiatek serving to stay in the match in the second set, Garcia came within two points of closing out a straight-set win. However, Swiatek delivered two big points, pushing the match into a second tiebreaker.
Swiatek then powered through the decider to advance to her 11th semifinal of the season.
Third-seeded Coco Gauff extended her winning streak to 16 matches, beating Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-4 and setting up a semifinal match against Swiatek.
Third-seeded Holger Rune lost to 122nd-ranked Brendon Nakashima 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the Shanghai Masters.
The 22-year-old American converted five of his 14 break points to claim a maiden victory over a top-10 player.
Nakashima will next play Zhang Zhizhen, who knocked out 28th-seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Also, Roman Safiullin defeated ninth-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1 in a rematch of last week’s Chengdu Open final, which Zverev won.
Other players losing Friday included 11th-seeded Alex de Minaur, 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti and 14th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Casper Ruud was one of the few seeded players to advance. He beat Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-0 and will next face 29th-seeded Christopher Eubanks, who rallied to beat Yannick Hanfmann 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz and second-seeded Daniil Medvedev play their second-round matches on Saturday.
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis