by Chris Odo | Tweet embed | Tuesday 6 July 2021
Watch Arina Sabalenka last hammer Anas Jaber On Tuesday at Wimbledon, it’s hard to imagine that a player of this caliber took so long to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam.
but it’s true.
She followed that up by reaching the semi-finals of the Grand Slam the following day.
After her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jaber, Sabalenka spoke about the process of learning how to deal with the pressures and expectations that come with playing at a Grand Slam.
“I was struggling at the Grand Slam with all the emotions I’ve been through,” she told reporters. “After every tournament, I was so disappointed about myself that I couldn’t stand the pressure. I actually thought I wouldn’t make it to week two. We worked a lot with my psychiatrist and with my coach – so we worked a lot.”
Sabalenka, who plays her 15th main draw at the Grand Slam and entered Wimbledon as the top 20 seed who has yet to reach the main quarter-finals, was asked what she told herself and how she learned to cope.
“Just breathe,” she said. “It’s okay, you can do it. Keep fighting. Keep doing whatever you can. That’s it. Actually, that’s it.”
Watch Ranking: Aryna Sabalenka will rise to No. 3 by progressing to #wimbledon Semifinals and could climb to No. 2 if she reaches her first major final.
– WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) 6 July 2021
The victory over Poulter helped her unlock her game
Her second-round victory over Great Britain بريطانيا Katie Poulter It is the kind of match that Sabalenka would have stumbled into in the past. She dropped the first set and the 219-ranked wild card was playing great tennis, and the center court was wasting her every winner.
But Sabalenka survived every tricky spot in the match. She saved a break point in the second set 5-3, which would have proved disastrous if it had been broken. Then she saved all six break points she faced in an 18-serve match with a 5-3 score in the third set. Once again, the crisis was averted. The victory concluded in the next match.
Sabalenka hasn’t looked back since.
“Actually that match was really important for me because she had some chances in the third set,” she said. “I could lose it easily. But I’m really glad I was able to compete there, I was able to fight, and I was able to find the way in that match.
“That match definitely shows me, like, I can go through a different situation. I just have to believe in myself and fight and do whatever I can and that’s it. So that match was really important to me and I’m really happy that I won that match.”