Sobolenko found discipline. In 1/4 Australian Open had the worst match, but lost only 5 games
Arina Sobolenko is rushing towards the dream of winning the Grand Slam and the first line of the rating. This year, the Belarusian has nine matches in which she has not yet lost a set.
Arina’s power at the Australian Open is a terrible thing. In the course of the tournament, she won 343 points, and almost half (47.5%) – through shots, which she knocked already 163.
Her latest victim was Donna Vekic in the quarterfinals. Prior to this match, Sobolenko was inferior to her 1:5 in personal meetings, but in Melbourne she gave only five games – 6:3, 6:2.
However, despite the score, it was a very difficult match. And in terms of the quality of the game, it turned out to be the worst for Sobolenko in this tournament. And possibly the worst this season.
• Arina has made nine double faults, her most in 2023. True, Vekic made a total of 13 doubles.
• In previous matches in Melbourne, she has never allowed more than 20 unforced shots, and on Wednesday she hit a whopping 35. On the other hand, she has 38 throughput, also her most at the 2023 Australian Open. So the overall balance is positive.
• Sobolenko’s serve in Melbourne was nearly unassailable, but Vekic had 14 break points in six different games. But here it should be noted that the Croatian managed to break only twice. And she herself lost the pitch five times and only twice managed to keep her in games in which the Belarusian had a chance to break.
In general, both of them in this match were quite far from the best game. But Sobolenko spent key moments much better and more disciplined – and this is probably the most striking characteristic of her tennis at the beginning of 2023.
For example, with the score 1:1 in the first set, Arina left three break points: ace, backhand right through, forehand right through.
And look how well she prepared the forehand – without much risk she found a sharp corner (far from the lines, high above the net), opened the court, carefully put it in the opposite one.
With a score of 3:3 in the first game, Sobolenko again left three break points: she forced two errors and laid an ace. It is important to note that she forced mistakes by not going all-in, not aiming at the lines, but by controlled pushing with power, depth of blows, their weight.
When the Belarusian served for the set, she played another break point, and there she was lucky – Vekic put her on the defensive from the second serve and almost hit the attacking forehand in width.
Serving for the match, Sobolenko faced three more break points and answered them with two missed serves (a powerful first and a very good and sharp second), and then squeezed another mistake out of Vekic due to the depth of the blows.
Sobolenko’s game has always had a lot of elements that can confuse opponents. But now she is probably at the peak of her ability to use them in a cool and disciplined manner.
Perhaps it is these new qualities that will allow her to solve the problem for the season, which she set herself for herself – not to give rivals easy victories .
And if she does not make gifts herself, it is very difficult to beat her.
For the Australian Open final, Sobolenko will compete with the main sensation of the tournament – 30-year-old Magda Lynette, who had never gone beyond the third round on the Slams before, and beat four seeded in Melbourne, including world No. 4 Caroline Garcia and ex-first racket Karolina Plishkova.
Lynette takes opponents with tenacity, the ability to use the speed of their shots, break the rhythm, change the direction of the ball. Power tennis players, like Sobolenko, are very vulnerable to this – for example, Garcia and Pliskova’s game fell apart, and they made a bunch of mistakes.