Aryna Sabalenka defeated Elena Rybakina and won the first Grand Slam of the year

The Belarusian took the match in three sets, after losing the first against the Kazakh.

The Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka won the Australian Open after defeating the Kazakh Elena in three sets 4-6, 6-3 and 6-4, crowned herself as one of the highest bets of the new generation of women’s tennis by taking the first Grand Slam of the year

Sabalenka, 24 years old and number five in the world, experienced something unprecedented for her in the tournament in the first set of the final: she lost it. It is that the Belarusian until that 6-4 seemed unbeatable in Melbourne because she had reached the decisive instance without giving up any set, with victories against the Czech Tereza Martincova, the American Shelby Rogers, the Belgian Elize Mertens, the Swiss Belinda Bencic and Linette.

The one born in Minsk became the first Grand Slam champion under a neutral flag -due to the sanction of her country for the invasion and war in Ukraine- and is undefeated in 2023, since she started the season with a consecration in Adelaide, also without lose any part.

Sabalenka lost only one set in the entire tournament, the first of the final. AFP photo.

The champion connected 17 direct aces, put the finishing touch to an impeccable Australian tour, in which she won the title in Adelaide and the first ‘major’ of the season only losing one set.

how was the game

Aryna Sabalenka.  AFP.

Aryna Sabalenka. AFP.

In a powerful duel between the best server in the tournament and the player with the most winners, the Belarusian started hesitantly and with even double faults that led her to lose her first set in all of 2023, but she found her best game to come back.

With a less deadly service than usual, with nine direct aces against 17 for the Belarusian, Rybakina ended up giving in to Sabalenka’s push but, even so, she made sure to climb from 23rd to 10th place in the world ranking.

As expected, the duel between the two gunners was packed with quick points, with just 14 long rallies and seven aces in just the first 13 points.

In a match where every break was worth gold, the first to do so was Rybakina at 1-1, after Sabalenka squandered a 0-40 lead with a double fault and two balls that went wide to the right.

Elena Rybakina won the first set of the final.

Elena Rybakina won the first set of the final.

The Belarusian’s aggressiveness emerged at 4-3, with a dunk into the net that she celebrated with one of her roars. Thus began her first break of the match, which allowed her to level the set at 4-4 before losing her next serve again penalized for two double faults.

It was difficult for her, but Sabalenka began to find herself on the court, minimizing her mistakes and finding the lines with her shots. His roar resounded again with a break to go 3-1 in the second set, which this time he did not miss despite a new double fault, the last he would do in the match.

The advantage encouraged this force of nature who began to deploy his forehands at almost 150 km/h and press every serve that Rybakina could not adjust. Although he missed several break points, that break was enough to take the set with two consecutive ‘aces’.

The Belarusian arrived with momentum in the final set and did the rest with the 3-3. Rybakina saved two break points but on the third she literally went to the knee as she returned a blow from the Belarusian, who then finished her off with a forehand winner.

Sabalenka celebrates after a powerful display of tennis in the final in Melbourne.

Sabalenka celebrates after a powerful display of tennis in the final in Melbourne.

In the first Grand Slam final that she played, it was difficult for her to close the championship but on her fourth match point a Rybakina forehand went wide and gave the title to a Sabalenka who emotionally dropped on the blue track in Melbourne and from now it will be the new No. 2 in the world.




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