Aryna Sabalenka defeated Elena Rybakina in women's Australian Open 2023 final, earning her first career's Grand Slam title. The clash between the players who showed a great performance throughout the whole tournament and undoubtedly deserved setting up the final's match line-up has not disappointed at all, being a pure spectacle of highest-level tennis.
The match started well for Rybakina, who earned the early break in third game, but Sabalenka leveled for a 4-4 score. Then, reigning Wimbledon champ re-gained her advantage, achieving a break in 9th game and serving out the set win 6-4. It was a really good set for Rybakina, who was using the weapons which made her unbeatable on the road to final. Especially the serving performance was at the right place, serving 5 aces and no double faults there. First set did not bring any tight games or long rallies, at it lasted just 35 minutes.
While the Kazakh was one set away from her second Grand Slam title, Sabalenka, who has lost the set for the first time in 2023 season, raised up her game to the enormous level. Second set was a really tense battle with multiple great shots, impressive winners and huge strikes from both sides. Rybakina was close to get into driver's seat on the road to the final victory, being 40-15 up on Sabalenka's serve in first game, but Aryna defended well and it was her who gained the first break in fourth game. Almost every game till the end of that set was really tight with playing on advantages, but Sabalenka held all her serves till the end and forced the deciding set. The level of her game was just amazing, as she sent 7 aces and hit 21 winners comparing to just 10 unforced errors in the second part of the match.
The decider was a calm before the storm in the opening games, as both players were holding serves easily till score 2-2. Sabalenka was still on fire though, putting a pressure on Rybakina, having the first breakpoint chance in 5th game. Another chances came two games later when Sabalenka prevailed to break her opponent after third deuce and moved into the lead. The Belarusian needed as many as 4 match points on her own serve in the last game, but held nerves pretty well and earned her biggest career's success, joining the hall of Grand Slam champions. 4-6 6-3 6-4 is the final score. 17 aces and 51 winners from the new Australian Open champion is just a hugely impressive performance.
Aryna Sabalenka will be the new world number 2 on Monday's WTA ranking list. It's stil a huge gap between Iga Swiatek and rest of the field there, but keeping this kind of level and consistency as during the whole Australian Summer period with 11 wins strike, losing just one set on the road, and showing the abilities to purely dominate the opponents, Sabalenka can be a serious threat for the current WTA rank's leader in the time.
Hats off to Elena Rybakina, who overcame a true hell of the draw, defeating players like Swiatek, Danielle Collins, or Victoria Azarenka with a convincing style and coming up short just against the perfectly disposed Sabalenka, still taking up the fight and having her own chances in this match as well. Rybakina will also capitalize in the rankings after her great AO run, as she will be the new number 10 on Monday, definitely looking as a contender to stay in the top for a long time.