- Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus beat Elena Rybakina from Kazakh in a thrilling match
- Both players gave it all their best and they are satisfied with their performance
- Sabalenka is happy that she won after a rocky 2022
Aryna Sabalenka is the winner of the 2023 Australian Open after defeating Elena Rybakina in Saturday’s finals.
After losing the first set, Belarusian Sabalenka took control of the match to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 and become the first singles player to win a major while competing under a neutral flag.
Speaking post-match when she received her trophy, she said that the victory was as a result of team effort. She also said the victory came after many ups and downs in 2022.
“Thank you for an amazing atmosphere. And of course my team, the craziest team on tour I would say. We’ve been through a lot of downs last year, we worked so hard. You guys deserve this trophy, it’s more about you than me. I hope next year I come back stronger and I’ll show you even better tennis,” Sky Sports reports.
Rybakina got off to a stronger start, defeating Sabalenka in the third game after she had led 40-0. She held her own comfortably until the eighth game when the Belarusian strung together a string of solid returns and received her reward.
When Rybakina served for the set, Sabalenka, who had previously won all 20 sets she had played this season, produced a terrible service game, double-faulting twice. Rybakina won the set 6-4 by holding to love and breaking Sabalenka’s streak.
At the start of the second set, the Kazakh born in Russia pushed hard for a break, but Sabalenka resisted, saving two break points in the first game.
By outhitting Rybakina more than two to one in winners and breaking to take the lead 3-1, the Belarusian gradually shifted the match in her favour.
The winner of Wimbledon fought valiantly to hold it at one break, fending off three break points in the sixth game and two set points at 5-2.
The momentum now was with Sabalenka, and she raised her level again in the early stages of the decider, pushing ever closer to the lines but rarely beyond them in what was unquestionably the best performance of her life. Sabalenka kept her composure to serve it out, winning the set 6-3 with a second serve ace to send it to a decider.
At 2-2 after a long game, Rybakina resisted a breakpoint, but two games later, as Sabalenka neared the finish line, her defences broke.
Sabalenka double-failed on her first match chance and then missed a forehand on her second as a baby wailed in the audience, so the decisive moment did not come easily.
After two hours and 28 minutes, she saved a break point with her match-fastest serve and went on to win on her fourth attempt.
In her short speech after the match, Rybakins said that she hoped for more but did exceptionally well, given the hard work she put into the game.
She congratulated Sabalenka for a good match and the Melbourne atmosphere that pushed her into the 2023 Australian Open finals.
“First I would like to congratulate Aryna. I know how hard you’ve worked for that and also your team. Hopefully we’re going to have many more battles,” she said.