(Madrid) Aryna Sabalenka, first qualifier for the Madrid omnium final, hopes to have the opportunity to take her revenge against world No.1 Iga Swiatek, two weeks after her defeat on clay in Stuttgart (Germany) .

Sabalenka, world No.2 and crowned Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open in January, pocketed her ticket to the Madrid final at the expense of Greece’s Maria Sakkari (9th), dominated 6-4, 6 -1 Thursday.

Swiatek, she still has to get rid of the Russian Veronika Kudermetova (13th) in the second semi-final, scheduled for the end of the evening, to join her Belarusian rival.

“I really want to get that rematch,” Sabalenka hopes. It would be really great to be able to beat a player like Iga on clay. »

Swiatek had won 6-3, 6-4 over the German ocher in April.

“In Stuttgart, I rushed, pissed, on the short balls, I tried too hard for the winner. This time I would play with more patience and wait for the right ball to finish the point,” imagines Sabalenka.

“It’s always a tough fight against Iga, I’m ready for it,” she promises.

Just over three weeks before Roland-Garros (May 28-June 11), Sabalenka is in any case confirming her very good form in 2023: the Belarusian, who will celebrate her 25th birthday on Friday, has already reached her fifth final of the season ( for two titles) in seven tournaments played.

Already “before the Australian Open, I had become a little calmer on the court, maybe it’s age… But after that, everything changed. I feel like someone different, I see tennis differently, I have so much confidence in myself right now. The Australian Open really changed me,” she says.

For now, Swiatek, crowned twice at Roland-Garros (2020 and 2022), is undefeated on clay in 2023 (eight wins in eight games).

Also in love with the surface and recent finalist in Barcelona, ​​the world No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas was surprised in the quarter-finals by the German Jan-Lennard Struff, 65th in the world, 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3 after two and a half hours of hard fighting.

Ironically, for a place in the final, Struff will face Aslan Karatsev… for the second time in the Madrid tournament: it was precisely the Russian who had beaten him in qualifying and initially prevented him from entering the main draw a while ago. ten days. The German was finally drafted after a late withdrawal.

“He beat me pretty easily in qualifying I must say (6-4, 6-2), admits Struff. I hope I will be able to do better. »

Karatsev put an end to him 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to the beautiful course of Zhizhen Zhang (99th), who became the first Chinese player in the quarter-finals in Masters 1000, to find a place in the last four.

For both Struff (33) and Karatsev (29), a surprise semi-finalist at the 2021 Australian Open but falling back out of the top 100 (121st), this will be their first-ever Masters 1000 semi-final .

Being invited to the last four guarantees the first to climb to the gates of the top 30 on Monday, very close to its best ranking (29th in August 2020), and the second, to return to the edge of the top 50.

The two men’s semi-finals are scheduled for Friday (from 4 p.m.). The first will oppose the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, world No.2 and trophy holder, to the Croatian Borna Coric (20th).