Aryna Sabalenka has won a Grand Slam title for the first time in her career. The 24-year-old number 5 of the world proved too strong for Jelena Rybakina, ranked 25th on the WTA Tour. In a match that lasted 2.5 hours, Sabalenka beat her opponent in 3 sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Last year Sabalenka struggled with her form and especially her service. The Belarussian didn’t win a single WTA tournament and was the player with the most double faults on the WTA Tour: 428 double faults in 55 matches.
In the past couple of months, she’s worked on the ball toss before her service and it paid off. She’s been undefeated in 11 matches and won the WTA tournament in Adelaide before Melbourne.
23-year-old Rybakina played her second Grand Slam final. Last year she won Wimbledon but after that, she hit a slump and didn’t manage to win more than one match in 7 of the 10 tournaments she participated in.
But Melbourne got her out of a said slump and she beat Grand Slam champions Jelana Ostapenko, Viktoria Azarenka, and Iga Swiatek, the number 1 player in the world.
The Australian Open 2023 womens finals was one of contrasts
The contrasts of the finale of the Australian Open 2023 were huge. Sabalenka played with a lot of passion while Rybakina was the ice queen on the court. In terms of playing style, they looked alike. Both leaned on their service and kept the games as short as possible.
After 3 games (7 aces and a double fault for Sabalenka) Rybakina led thanks to a break of 2-1.
Sabalenka, who was ousted in 3 semi-finals of Grand Slam Tournaments appeared vulnerable on her second serve. She did make a tiny comeback to 4-4 but was broken immediately after, thanks to a double fault on breakpoint against.
Jelena Rybakina loses the Australian Open womens finals 2023 due to personal errors
Over the course of the match, more and more personal errors messed up the game of Rybakina. She was less dominant on her serve and had trouble with the pressure plays of her opponent. Sabalenka started to hit more winners and thanks to a break she led 2-1 in the 2nd set.
In the third and final set of the match, Rybakina had trouble winning her service games. Sabalenka broke her at 3-3 and finished the match on her own serve. She did need 4 match points however and messed up the first one with a double fault.