Elena Rybakina took the succesful revenge on Aryna Sabalenka for the January's final of Australian Open. The Kazakh turned out to be better in today's final of BNP Paribas Open, defeating the world's number 2 with a score 7-6(11) 6-4, clinching her first title of this season and first WTA 1000 title in career so far.
The match was really interesting fight despite being settled in straight sets. Especially the opening set was an absolute thriller. First four games were ended up with long and tight battles on advantages, but both players came out without losing serves from this. First break of the match came true in 5th game when Sabalenka moved into the lead. However, it was Rybakina who clicked the gear since then, putting more pressure on her opponent, leveling the score and even having a setpoint within Sabalenka's serve in 12th game. There was no settlement after 12th game and tie-break came true. It was a stunner and fight of nerves. Both players were struggling on serve with many mini-breaks on the road. Both had chances to clinch this set, but Rybakina was closer with 5 setpoints created comparing to Sabalenka's two and converted the decisive one, winning the tie-break 13-11.
This amazing battle could be crucial for the morale of both players, as Rybakina started to run away with the score from the start of second set. She was leading 5-2 with double break. Sabalenka tried to fight back, managed to make up one break gap, but it was not enough, as the current Wimbledon champion sealed the win comfortably in 10th game of second set.
"It really feels amazing. It has been tough but really good two weeks for me here. We both had chances, but in the end, it went my way. So I think it was important this first set, and then it was a bit easier to start the second with an early break. This tiebreak was really epic, I would say, with all these double faults and nerves. So in the end, it was just focusing on every point and try to fight till the end." - said the new Indian Wells champion during the post-match press conference.