Aryna Sabalenka flexed her muscles as the incoming world number one by beating Chinese youngster Zheng Qinwen to reach the US Open semi-finals.
The second seed from Belarus will take over from Iga Swiatek at the top of the rankings on Monday, ending the Pole’s 75-week reign.
She cruised into the last four at Flushing Meadows for the third straight year with a commanding 6-1 6-4 victory in an hour and 13 minutes.
Zheng, 20, playing in her first grand slam quarter-final, won just four of the first 24 points of the match as Sabalenka raced into a 5-0 lead.
Faces the winner of Vondrousova/Keys! pic.twitter.com/GrjUbWs5lt
— wta (@WTA) September 6, 2023
She stopped the bleeding by holding serve in the sixth game, but Sabalenka wrapped up the first set in only 27 minutes.
Zheng, seeded 23, restored some pride in the second but a break in the seventh game ensured Sabalenka became the first woman to reach the semi-finals of all four grand slams in the same year since Serena Williams in 2016.
The 25-year-old has dropped just 21 games in the 10 sets she has played over five rounds in New York.
She said: “I definitely played great tennis. I’m super happy with the performance tonight and to give myself a chance to do better in the semis.
“I’m going to do everything I can to stay until the end.”