NEW YORK: Aryna Sabalenka overcame a partisan New York crowd and an in-form Danielle Collins to secure a 3-6 6-3 6-2 win on Monday and set up a U.S. Open quarter-final against familiar foe Karolina Pliskova.
American Collins came out firing to take the first set but the tide turned in the second when sixth seed Sabalenka won a marathon service game to lead 4-3.
Sabalenka rolled on from there, breaking Collins in the next game and capturing the set with her fifth ace.
She broke again early in the deciding third set and raised her arms in triumph when Collins’ service return landed in the net on match point.
Sabalenka, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year, improved to 4-0 against 19th seed Collins.
“I just love the court, I love the crowd,” she said at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Even if you guys support her, which is expected, I love this place and I want to play here as much as I can.”
Sabalenka is battle tested going into the quarter-finals.
She clawed her way back from a set and 5-1 down against Kaia Kanepi in the second round, saving two match points in the process.
“When you come back from that kind of score you know that nothing can hurt you,” she said.
“You go into the next match and know that you will fight for it no matter what.”
Next up for Sabalenka is big-serving Czech Pliskova, who won a gritty three-setter over Victoria Azarenka, also of Belarus, earlier in the day.
Sabalenka and the tournament’s 2016 finalist Pliskova have split their four head-to-head meetings 2-2.
Sabalenka said maintaining her composure if the match is not breaking her way will be key to victory.
“Right now I really expect great level from her,” she added. “It’s going to be tough. It’s a tough fight.”

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By Dipak

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