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Aryna Sabalenka, right, of Belarus is congratulated by Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic following their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. Image Credit: AP

Melbourne: Dominant defending champion Aryna Sabalenka admitted on Tuesday she was plotting “revenge” against Coco Gauff after setting up an Australian Open semi-final showdown with the American.

The world No 2 was untouchable in a commanding 6-2, 6-3 victory over ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova on Rod Laver Arena, reaching the last four at a Grand Slam for the sixth consecutive time.

She will meet Gauff next in a replay of last year’s US Open final, which the teenager won in three sets.

“I love it, I love it. After the US Open, I really wanted that revenge, and, I mean, that’s a great match,” Sabalenka said, looking ahead to their clash for a place in the final on Thursday.

“It’s always great battles against Coco, with really great fights. I’m happy to play her, and I’m super-excited to play that semi-final match.”

One-hit wonder

After her defeat when favourite at Flushing Meadows, Sabalenka made clear she wants to ensure she is not a one-hit wonder.

And on current form, dropping just 16 games so far at Melbourne Park, Gauff will be the underdog again.

The Belarusian had won all seven of her previous Grand Slam quarter-finals coming into the Krejcikova clash and attributed her consistency to hard work.

“A lot of hard work. I have been working so hard this last year and in preseason. It’s all about hard work, give it all in the practice court so you are ready for the match,” she said.

“I think my mindset is that I’m not getting crazy on court, I’m not rushing things,” she added.

“You know, I’m just playing point by point, and that’s it, and fighting for every point without overthinking about my dreams, about what I want to do, about how many Slams I want to win and all that stuff.”

She wasted little time laying down the law against Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, working two break points off the Czech’s serve in game three and making no mistake.

Arduous journey

Further breaks came in game five and seven, with Sabalenka in full control, serving to love for the set in just 33 minutes.

Krejcikova had reached the last eight after an arduous journey, losing the first set in three of her first four matches, before bouncing back.

But there was no repeat against a player in peak form and whose booming groundstrokes were unstoppable.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Sabalenka breaking in game three and five.

The Czech player, who has never gone past the last eight in Melbourne, staged a mini-recovery but it was too little too late as the second seed galloped home.