Aryna Sabalenka wins Australian Open

She defeated Elena Rybakina in three sets

By Web Desk
January 28, 2023
This is the maiden grand slam title for Aryna Sabalenka — AFP

Aryna Sabalenka has won the Australian Open women's singles title by defeating Elena Rybakina in the final on Saturday in Melbourne. 

Sabalenka battled back from a set down to beat Rybakina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2hr 28min on Rod Laver Arena.

Sabalenka is the 29th different women's player in the Open Era to secure the title at the Australian Open and the 58th different women's player in the Open Era to secure a Grand Slam title. 

An 11th straight win of the year also means the Sabalenka will return to a career-high ranking of number two behind Iga Swiatek.

The 24-year-old Sabalenka wiped a tear from her right eye before getting a warm hug from Moscow-born Rybakina, who played a full part in an amazing match between to hard-hitters.

Sabalenka, the fifth seed, then ran to her player´s box to celebrate joyously with her team.

It was a fitting finale to two weeks of drama at Melbourne Park, highlighted by brutal groundstrokes, precision serving and wonderful rallies from two players at the top of their game.

Rybakina cruised through the first set in just 34 minutes but Sabalenka scrapped her way back in a 57-minute second set to take it to a nervy decider.

It was then a case of which of the big servers would blink first in a tremendous toe-to-toe battle.

At 3-3 Rybakina — who represents Kazakhstan — could not find enough first serves and though she saved two break points, a third was too much and Sabalenka had the finish line in sight.

An ace took her to 5-3 and Rybakina held to force Sabalenka to test her nerves and serve for the championship.

She was up to the challenge, but needed four nerve-shredding match points after a display where she hit an astonishing 51 winners and 17 aces to edge past the big-serving Rybakina.