ROME -- Sometimes pure power can mask more nuanced, subtle skills. This is the case with Aryna Sabalenka, who finds herself in Thursday’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia semifinals after an almost routine 6-2, 6-4 win over Ostapenko.

Afterward, Sabalenka revealed she wondered if she’d be able to even play this match after sustaining a lower back injury in the previous match against Elina Svitolina. It required a medical timeout after two sets and was a major concern Tuesday.

Sabalenka said she skipped practice and spent much of the day undergoing treatment – and enjoying some good food. After a 30-minute hit Wednesday morning, she decided to give it a go.

“I was testing my body on the warmup and I felt, `OK, I’m probably going to go on the court and play,’ ” she told reporters. “And I’m super happy I was able to play without pain today. Hopefully, with every day I will feel better and better.

“I would definitely say that was the best performance of the tournament.”

Nobody goes for it like Ostapenko. For better or worse, she dictates policy. In the third round against Sara Sorribes Tormo, Ostapenko hit 72 winners and 69 unforced errors. Sabalenka, who can match her for power from the baseline when she wants to, plays with a far greater margin.

But when Sabalenka’s caught out of position, she can alter the trajectory, speed and direction of the ball with a deft flick of the wrist and get back to neutral. Ostapenko seems to have mostly one mode -- all out.

You could see the difference Wednesday in this meeting of Top 10 players, when Sabalenka flawlessly navigated her way through the daunting thicket that is Ostapenko.

Sabalenka finished the match with 12 winners and 11 unforced errors. Ostapenko had 18 of each -- and finishes the tournament with an amazing 150 winners in four matches.

After losing an excruciating three-set, three-hour-plus Madrid final to Iga Swiatek (who saved three match points), Sabalenka arrived in Rome -- the perfect antidote to her frustration and disappointment.

She loves the city -- the food, the history, walking around, everything about it.

“Lots of positives from Madrid,” Sabalenka told reporters. “I fought myself back. I found my game. I bring everything back together and start playing on high level.

“Yeah, I’m super happy to be back in Rome, one of my favorite tournaments. Madrid was tough. Still happy with those couple of weeks and looking forward for here.”

Slowly, surely, she has gathered herself at Foro Italico.

Sabalenka’s first match, against qualifier Katie Volynets, went three sets. It was followed by a first-ever career win over Dayana Yastremska. The huge hump to get over was the fourth-round match against two-time Rome champion Svitolina.

Sabalenka was down 2-0 in the third but rallied -- saving three match points -- to win a taut tiebreaker in a match that ended past midnight. Lost in all those pyrotechnics at the end: Sabalenka struck three consecutive winning drop shots in the third game to escape that hole. If Plan A isn’t working, Sabalenka can draw on an entire alphabet of options.

Sabalenka broke Ostapenko in the third and fifth games, and both times a double fault opened the door. A backhand sprayed wide and one long consolidated those opportunities for Sabalenka. The second set hinged on a single break in the seventh game.

After hitting her only double fault of the match, Sabalenka came back with two big serves (the second an ace), and closed it out with another unreturnable serve.

Ostapenko, who falls to 7-4 in WTA 1000 quarterfinals, was trying to reach the semifinals in Rome on back-to-back occasions.

For Sabalenka, this was a welcome result -- not just aesthetically, but in terms of physical exertion. The match lasted only 72 minutes, running her on-court time in 2024 WTA clay events to 25 hours and 34 minutes -- an entire day plus a nap.

No one has been out there longer, but since this was the earlier of two quarterfinals -- she’ll play No.13 Danielle Collins -- Sabalenka should have ample time to recover.