On Thursday, Aryna Sabalenka continued her perfect start to the year by beating unseeded Polish player Magda Linette 7-6 (1), 6-2 to advance to the Australian Open final, where she will face Elena Rybakina.
Adelaide champion Sabalenka has not lost a set on her way to 10 wins in 2023, but she got off to a shaky start on Rod Laver Arena due to the cold, losing her serve to love before breaking back with two blazing backhands.
The fifth seed applied intense pressure on Linette’s service in the first set’s tiebreak, eventually winning the game after her opponent hit a long serve. She went on to win the match in straight sets by breaking her opponent early in the second set.
Sabalenka, who had previously lost in the semi-finals of Grand Slam tournaments on three separate occasions, was not to be denied this time around. She jumped out to a 4-1 lead, fended off three break points, and won the match with a forehand winner.
Wimbledon champion Aryna Sabalenka will next face Russian-born Kazakh qualifier Dinara Safina Rybakina in the final after the latter defeated fellow Belarusian and two-time Melbourne Park champion Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Elena Rybakina defeated defending champion Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Thursday to go to her maiden Australian Open final. Rybakina wore out the two-time defending champion in a tight opening set before dominating the match’s final two.
The winner of the match between fifth-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Polish Magda Linette, which will take place later tonight at Rod Laver Arena, will face Wimbledon champion Dinara Safina in the final.
Rybakina stayed composed when it mattered most, prevailing after 24th-seeded Belarusian Azarenka faltered in a sloppy first-set tiebreak and then twice dropped service to fall behind 5-2 in the second set.