Sabalenka sets up French Open clash with Muchova, takes anti-war stance

  • Belarus secures world number two media snub
  • Djokovic beats Cachanov to advance to semi-finals
  • Algaras eliminates Chitsipas in the night session

PARIS, June 6 — World number two Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the French Open semifinals on Tuesday, beating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, accusing the Belarusian of waiting in the net for a handshake. .

Having put his own political drama in the rearview mirror last week, Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a 23rd Grand Slam title with a first-set victory over Russian Karen Kachanova 4-6 7-6. (0) 6-2 6-4.

„He was the better player in the first two sets and I struggled to find the rhythm, I came out a bit sluggish,” said two-time Roland Garros champion Djokovic.

„Then I played a perfect tiebreak and from that moment on I played two levels more.”

Top seed Carlos Algaraz beat fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 6-1 7-6(5) in the overnight session to reach a blockbuster semi-final with Djokovic. Year and second overall.

„If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and he’s one of the best players in the world,” Algarez said. Looking forward to such a big competition.

Czech Karolina Muchova was also a few points clear of former second seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won 7-5 6-2 to reach the semi-finals for the first time.

He will meet Sabalenka in the final.

Svitolina, a fan favorite, said she would not shake hands with players from Russia or Belarus after Moscow invaded her country last year, for which Belarus is a key arena.

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„To be fair, I don’t know what she was waiting for because my statements were clear about the handshake,” said Svitolina, who waited for Sabalenka at the net in the French Open crowd as she walked to her bench. Won 6-4 6-4.

’I don’t support war’

After skipping two press conferences at Roland Garros and being grilled by the media about his personal stance on the war, Sabalenka finally spoke to reporters again.

„I don’t want my country to be involved in any conflict, I don’t support war,” said Sabalenka, a runner-up.

„I don’t support war, I mean I don’t support (Belarusian President) Alexander Lukashenko now.”

Sabalenka, who cited mental health reasons and said she did not feel safe after being repeatedly questioned about the war, said she did not regret missing media commitments.

„I felt really bad not being here. I couldn’t sleep. Like all those bad feelings were in my head,” Sabalenka said.

„I don’t regret the results. I felt very disrespected and very bad. I mean, (a) Grand Slam, enough pressure to handle it, and I tried to focus on my game.

„I hope you understand me and my feelings. I respect you all very much and you know I am always open. You can ask anything you want. You will get all the information.

„But in the last press conference, I felt like my press conference turned into a political TV show. I’m not an expert in politics. I’m a tennis player.”

Reporting by Srivatsa Sridhar, Julien Pretot and Carolus Grohmann in Paris; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davies

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