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U.S. Open 2023: Sabalenka looks to march on with top ranking in the bag

Aryna Sabalenka will have a spring in her step when she meets Daria Kasatkina in the U.S. Open fourth round on Monday, with the Belarusian set to take over as world number one.

The second seed reached the semifinals in the previous two Grand Slams after her Australian Open triumph and will now leapfrog Iga Swiatek when the latest rankings are released on September 11 after the New York champion’s shock exit on Sunday.

Swiatek fell 3-6 6-3 6-1 to former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, and Sabalenka – who has a 20-2 record at the majors this year – will aim to push on after accomplishing another of her main objectives for the season.

“Reaching the WTA world number one singles ranking is something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a little girl when I started playing tennis,” Sabalenka, 25, said.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to join the amazing list of other WTA players to achieve this, and it’s a huge honour to be able to call myself the number one.”

Carlos Alcaraz takes centre stage in his match with the unseeded Italian Matteo Arnaldi after local favourites Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula clash in the day’s opening match on the main showcourt.

German Alexander Zverev meets Italian Jannik Sinner to bring the curtain down on the eighth day.

Over at Louis Armstrong Stadium, American Peyton Stearns will hope to keep her dream run going at Flushing Meadows by knocking out Wimbledon Champion Marketa Vondrousova

Russians Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev will also be in action against Briton Jack Draper and Australian Alex de Minaur respectively, with a tantalising meeting between Ons Jabeur and Zheng Qinwen splitting their matches.

Tunisian Jabeur, dubbed her country’s “Minister of Happiness” and a crowd favourite at the U.S. Open, has soldiered on despite having flu as she bids to become the first African woman and Arab player to win a Grand Slam singles title.

“This is a fun tournament. Not fun starting being sick,” last year’s runner-up said. “I feel like this tournament is testing me and showing me I have a lot of strength, that I can go really far and maybe have a great result here.”

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