Rising stars Aryna Sabalenka and Dayana Yastremska square off for a place in the Adelaide International final on Friday.
Aryna Sabalenka ?? vs Dayana Yastremska ?? Match Info
Date: Friday January 17
Tournament: WTA Adelaide International, SF
Time: 11.00am local time (12.30am GMT)
Aryna Sabalenka vs Dayana Yastremska Head-to-Head
Yastremska leads 1-0
2019 | Strasbourg SF | Yastremska 6-4 6-4
2017 | 100k St Petersburg QF | Yastremska 3-6 7-5 6-1
Road to the semi-finals
R1: def. Timea Babos [LL] 7-5 6-3
R2: def. Angelique Kerber  6-3 2-0 RET
QF: def. Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3
R1: def. Su-Wei Hsieh 5-7 6-1 7-5
R2: def. Bernada Pera [Q] 7-6(4) 6-2
QF: def. Simona Halep  6-4 6-2
Aryna Sabalenka vs Dayana Yastremska Match Preview
It’s been a brilliant tournament for both Sabalenka and Yastremska in Adelaide, but one young gun must be eliminated on Friday as the pair battle it out to make a first WTA final of 2020.
Rocked by the tragic loss of her father at just 43 years of age during the off-season, Sabalenka has played some great tennis all things considered, and she produced an explosive performance in the quarter-finals on Thursday, powering past reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep in straight sets.
Sabalenka was almost flawless and rendered the former World No. 1 helpless, firing 30 winners to just 10 unforced errors in the 6-4 6-2 triumph. Halep’s numbers were very good – 12 winners to just six unforced errors – but there was simply nothing she could do with Sabalenka in that sort of mood and firing on all cylinders from the baseline.
“I’m pleased that I stayed focused on each point, and that I didn’t care what had happened in the past,” Sabalenka said. “I just stayed in the moment and that helped me play this match.”
A lot was expected of Sabalenka in 2019 after her brilliant breakout season the previous year, but she struggled for the majority of it – which makes it amazing that she’s currently ranked No. 12. The 21-year-old saved her season at the very end, successfully defending her Wuhan title before going on to capture the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
Those wins have seemingly acted as a springboard for 2020 – can Sabalenka continue her great form and reach a first final of the season?
Yastremska stands in her way in the final four. The 19-year-old is carving a similar sort of route up the rankings to that of Sabalenka a couple of years ago and looks on track for a big 2020 if her form in Adelaide is anything to go by. Yastremska hasn’t dropped a set en route to the semi-finals and was dominant in a 6-4 6-3 win over Donna Vekic in Thursday’s quarter-final, blasting 23 winners and firing seven aces in the 68-minute victory.
“It’s nice to be in the semifinals just in the beginning of the year,” Yastremska said after the match. “I’m not playing my best game, but it’s still nice, because now after the preseason I try to do the things I have been practicing. I’m just getting my form.”
After linking up with super coach Sascha Bajin for 2020, Yastremska could easily challenge for a spot in the top 10 if she continues to rise at the pace she has since bursting onto the scene in 2018, when she became the first player born in the 2000s to break into the top 100. The Ukrainian would go on to capture her maiden WTA title in Hong Kong towards the end of 2018 and despite some injury troubles at the start of 2019, took her game to the next level, posting six top 20 wins and winning two more titles in Hua Hin and Strasbourg to finish the year at a career-high No. 22 – and she will break into the top 20 if she can come away with the Adelaide title this week.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Dayana Yastremska Prediction
Yastremska won their only previous tour-level meeting on the clay of Strasbourg last year – a tournament one week before a slam (Roland Garros) like Adelaide, but Sabalenka was in dire form at that stage and didn’t play anywhere near her best. If Sabalenka can play like she did against Halep, she will be very hard to stop, but Yastremska is operating at a high level herself and knows what she has to do to be successful in this match-up. It’s shaping as a very tight contest, but I give the slight edge to Sabalenka based on her performance against Halep.