"We know that you are waiting for Novak Djokovic" - Cheeky Aryna Sabalenka thanks fans after defeating Elina Svitolina

Aryna Sabalenka (L) and Novak Djokovic.
Aryna Sabalenka (L) and Novak Djokovic.

Aryna Sabalenka sailed through to the French Open semifinals for the first time in her career.

In her quarterfinal against Elina Svitolina on Tuesday, June 6, Sabalenka won 6-4, 6-4 on Court Philippe-Chatrier to end the former World No. 3's resurgence following maternity leave.

In the on-court interview after the match, Sabalenka thanked the fans for packing the stands and cheering for her and Svitolina. She then stated that she knew they were eagerly waiting for Novak Djokovic, who was in action next on the same court.

“It was [a] tough match, I am super happy with the win. The atmosphere was amazing, thank you so much for being here, supporting us. I mean, we all know that you [are] waiting for Novak [Djokovic] but still I'll take it like it's for me. Thank you,” she said, with a laugh.

The Belarusian praised Svitolina for her performances since returning to action after giving birth to her first child.

“She's such a tough opponent, moving well and now what she's doing after giving birth is it's impressive and big respect to her,” she added.

Sabalenka also stated that she has always preferred claycourts and hoped to go far as possible at the Paris Major this year.

“I mean, honestly, when I was a kid, I practiced a lot on the clay more than on the hardcourt. I don't know why everyone thought that I'm a hardcourt specialist and I feel very comfortable in the clay,” she said.
“Hopefully I can go as far as I can here on Roland Garros. I really enjoy playing in front of you guys and I just want to stay here as long as I can and bring my best tennis, make sure you guys enjoy watching us,” Aryna Sabalenka added.

If she manages to outperform Iga Swiatek in the French capital, she will be crowned the new WTA World No. 1.

Karolina Muchova awaits Aryna Sabalenka in French Open semifinals

Aryna Sabalenka's next opponent Karolina Muchova in action at the 2023 French Open.
Aryna Sabalenka's next opponent Karolina Muchova in action at the 2023 French Open.

Aryna Sabalenka had never gone past the French Open third round before. This year, however, she has been on a dominant run and is yet to drop a set in Paris.

With her defeat of Elina Svitolina, Sabalenka became the fifth player this century to win the first 12 Grand Slam matches of the year. Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002), Serena Williams (2002, 2003, 2015), Justine Henin (2007), and Victoria Azarenka (2013) are the only four players to have achieved this feat before.

The reigning Australian Open champion now has a tour-leading 34 match-wins in 2023. She will next face the unseeded Karolina Muchova, who beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2 in her quarterfinal.

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Edited by Anirudh
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