No.6 seed Aryna Sabalenka surged into her fourth semifinal of the season with a 6-4, 7-6(1) win over China's Zhang Shuai at the Western & Southern Open.

Sabalenka beat Zhang for the fourth time in five meetings, including a second time this year, in 1 hour, 49 minutes. All five matches between the two players have been decided in straight sets, and to do so this time, Sabalenka needed to fight back from several deficits. She won the first set from a break down at 4-3, and was also a break down four times in the second set. 

In the second set's latest stages, Sabalenka found her best tennis: Zhang served for the set at 5-4, only to be broken to love, and lost seven straight points in the tiebreak after winning the first. Sabalenka also saved two break points at 5-5, holding serve from 15-40 behind.

Cincinnati: Key plays by Sabalenka down the stretch of QF win

2022 Cincinnati

Stat of the day: It's Sabalenka's first hard-court semifinal since last summer's US Open. It's also her second in Cincinnati, having first done so in 2018.

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Words from the winner: The match was a high-quality contest off the ground: Sabalenka hit 43 winners to 31 unforced errors, while Zhang tallied 15 winners to just seven unforced.

"It was a tough match and she played unbelievable tennis," Sabalenka said in victory. "I'm super happy that, even if my serve didn't work well today in the second set, I was able to stay focused in return games. I did everything I could to stay focused in return games."

A third final at stake: Sabalenka now bids for her third final of the season, after finished as runner-up to Iga Swiatek at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and to Veronika Kudermetova at the Libema Open on grass. 

To get there, she'll have to beat Caroline Garcia, who rolled to a 6-1, 7-5 win over No.7 seed Jessica Pegula in the night session.