There is no doubt that Aryna Sabalenka of Minsk, Belarus, the sixth seed at the 2022 United States Open was having significant issues with her serve to start the year. How bad was it? She was facing a really bad case of the Chuck Knoblauch-like yips with her serve leading up to the Australian Open. In two WTA events in Adelaide, Sabalenka served up double faults at a high rate. She had 18 double faults in a 7-6, 6-1 loss to Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, and then had 21 double faults in a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 loss to Rebecca Peterson of Sweden. At the time, Sabalenka was the number two seed in the first tournament in Adelaide, and the number one seed in second tournament in Adelaide, but did not play anything like an elite player at the time.
Continued Service Problems at Australian Open
Sabalenka did reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, but in four matches, reached the double digits in double faults in each match. She had 56 double faults throughout the tournament compared to only 20 aces.
More Service Issues
Sabalenka had 10 double faults in a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 first round loss to Jasmine Paolini of Italy at Indian Wells, 10 double faults in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 second round loss to Amanda Anisimova of the United States at Charleston, a remarkable 43 double faults in two matches at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in the beginning of August, 34 double faults in two matches at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
Much Improved Serve at Flushing Meadows
A major reason why Sabalenka is in the semi-finals of the 2022 United States Open is because of her serve. She only had four double faults in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Catherine Harrison of the United States in the first round, two double faults in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Clara Burel of France in the third round, and seven aces compared to three double faults in a 6-1, 7-6 win over Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
Sabalenka now has world number one Iga Swiatek of Poland in one women’s semifinal. The other semifinal has Caroline Garcia of France versus Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.