"She's just so powerful, she can hit the ball on a dime": Evert lauds Sabalenka, discusses why she is so difficult to beat

Wednesday, 07 June 2023 at 09:30
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Chris Evert believes that Aryna Sabalenka's victory over Iga Swiatek in the Madrid Open final has given her a boost of confidence heading into Roland Garros.
Sabalenka had never advanced past the third round of the French Open until this year, where she has now reached the semifinals. The second seed has not dropped a set so far and had a convincing win over Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
Only Karolina Muchova stands between Sabalenka and another Grand Slam final as she is currently in great form on clay. Chris Evert analyzed Sabalenka's chances and the confidence she has displayed in recent weeks as the world No. 2.
“Aryna is just so powerful; she can hit the ball on a dime, hitting the lines,” said Evert.
“She’s got so much more consistent; her ball retention used to be three or four shots, and now she’s six or seven shots. She sometimes hits a winner before hitting her sixth or seventh shot.
“She’s more patient with herself, moving better, and you can see her improved fitness. She’s getting in and out of the corners, going for winners, which shows that she’s moving better and her fitness is better,” 18-time Grand Slam champion added.
“That win over Swiatek in Madrid boosted her confidence, and she is a believer that she can play on clay.”
“She’s been brought up thinking she’s only a fast-court player, but now she can play and win on any surface, and that confidence says a lot for her mind.”
“Sabalenka has that enormous firepower, and when you have that, as well as consistency, it’s very difficult to play against because you feel like you’re having to react so much of the time,” said Eurosport expert Tim Henman.
“When your opponent is hitting the ball so hard, Svitolina has to drop back, and her average hit point was two metres behind the baseline, whereas Sabalenka was able to get up tight to the baseline, with her power.
“Sabalenka’s play is just getting better and better, getting more confident, and when you’re confident, you move better. It’s all trending in the right direction for her.”

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