( September 8, 2023) FLUSHING, NY- No. 17 Madison Keys was up 6-0, 5-3, and was up 4-2 in the decider with chances to reach the US Open final, but she did not seal the deal. No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka unbelievably made a comeback of comeback to put her in her first US Open final 0-6, 7-6(1), 7-6 (10-5) in just over two-and-a-half hours as Thursday night turned into Friday morning.
“It was really incredible match,” the Belarusian said. “She played unbelievable tennis. And, I mean, I’m really proud of myself that I was able to turn around this game and get this win, because it was just incredible.”
“Yeah, it was crazy. I was all over the place. I was just, like, what can I do? Like, she’s playing unbelievable, just, like, crushing everything.
“I’m not able to do anything, like, I had zero control in the match. I was just, like, I was just keep telling myself, I mean, okay, there is going to be this like this? “Somebody going to just play their best tennis?”I’m not able to do anything, like, I had zero control in the match. I was just, like, I was just keep telling myself, I mean, okay, there is going to be this like this? Somebody going to just play their best tennis?
“You just have to keep trying, keep staying there, and keep pushing it. Maybe you’ll be able to turn around this game.
“Lucky me, somehow magically, I don’t know how I was able to turn around this game.”
“Obviously I started really well,” Keys said. “I don’t think she was playing her best at the start. Then from the second set, it just, you know, got a lot closer. I was obviously up a break, and I think serving for it I was tight. She played free. Then from there, it just seemed like it was really, you know, kind of neck and neck.
“Overall I actually thought it was a really good match and pretty high level. Just unfortunately on the losing end.”
“I think everyone at the start of the tournament would obviously be really, really excited to be in the semis,” said the 28-year-old American. “Right now it sucks. “But yeah, I just think being able to, you know, take this and turn it to a positive is really possible. Yeah, there is still a lot to be proud of and still tons of tennis to play this season.”
‘I think about comebacks,” the Australian Open champion said. “Last year I had incredible comeback from 1-5 against (Kaia) Kanepi. But all of those comebacks are different. This one definitely was one of the best ones.
“I’m really proud that I was able to turn around this match.”
“Honestly, I was thinking that if I’m going to lose this semifinal, I’ll be struggling with sleeping for I don’t know how many days, and I was just, like, I don’t want this to happen. I need some sleep, and I need to be fine, you know, (smiling).
“I was just, like, come on, keep trying, keep pushing, like, I don’t know, do something extra. Just try to turn around this match. I think this kind of thinking really helped me to stay in the game and to keep trying, keep pushing, to still have this belief that I have a chance to turn around this match.”
As for the next task at hand, playing Coco Gauff in the final on Saturday.
“Coco,” said Sabalenka “I mean, she’s moving really well. She’s hungry. She kind of like have nothing to lose. She knows that crowd going to support her. I think that’s what makes her really difficult opponent. Also serving really well.
“I think Australian Open final will definitely help me with all those emotions I went through in that final. I’ll be different in this final. I mean, I don’t know. It’s too late. I can’t speak, guys. Really, I’m like losing it after each word I’m saying.
“But definitely that final gonna help me, because I know which kind of, like, emotions expect. I know how to handle them.
“”So I think that final gonna help me, like, emotionally gonna help me.””So I think that final gonna help me, like, emotionally gonna help me.”