Australian Open 2023 Final: Elena Rybakina vs Aryna Sabalenka – Preview, Head-to-Head, and Prediction


5th seed Aryna Sabalenka takes on 22nd seed Elena Rybakina in what promises to be a blockbuster final in the 2023 Australian Open on Saturday. Both women have played some sensational tennis this season and if they bring their best game then it could be a phenomenal match that tennis fans will remember for a long time.

Aryna Sabalenka roars in delight at the 2023 Australian Open (Image Credit: Tennis Channel – Twitter)

Aryna Sabalenka

The 24-year-old has always been a hard-hitter but this season, she has been striking tennis balls with some serious venom. She has shown great concentration and application and considerably reduced unforced errors.

Sabalenka started her campaign in the Australian Open by outplaying Tereza Martincova in the first round. She followed it up with another one-sided win against America’s Shelby Rogers. In the third round, Sabalenka faced the experienced Elise Mertens. The 26th seed couldn’t stop Sabalenka’s blistering run and lost the match 2-6, 3-6. Sabalenka’s next opponent was the gold medalist Belinda Benic. The world No. 5 went on to win a tightly-contested first set. In the second set, Sabalenka was the better player by a big margin and she eventually won the match 7-5, 6-2.

The quarterfinals saw Sabalenka face Donna Vekic. The latter had an impressive campaign thus far. However, the quality of Sabalenka proved to be too much in the match as she won 6-3, 6-2. Sabalenka faced Polish veteran Magda Linette in her first Australian Open semifinal. The first set was a close affair but Sabalenka won in the tiebreak. Sabalenak blew her opponent away in the second set to win the match 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. With this win, Sabalenka made it to her first Grand Slam final. She has won 10 matches this season and is yet to lose. All her wins have come in straight sets.

Elena Rybakina

The talented Rybakina won the Wimbledon last year but could not perform as well in the following tournaments. After Wimbledon and before the Australian Open, Rybakina managed to win just 14 out of the 24 matches she played. Many compared her graph to that of Emma Raducanu. However, Rybakina has chose the Australian Open to come back to form. The great thing about her run at the Australian Open has been her ability to adjust to different opponents and conditions.

Elena Rybakina in action at the 2023 Australian Open (Image Credit: We Are Tennis – Twitter)

The Kazakhstani No. 1 started with a relatively comfortable win against Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the first round. She went on to defeat Kaja Juvan with a powerful performance. Rybakina faced a stiff test in the third round against 13th seed Danielle Collins. The first set belonged to Rybakina but Collins bounced back to bag the second set. In the end, Rybakina triumphed 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. The fourth round saw Rybakina take on world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. The Polish star was the favorite without a doubt but Rybakina wasn’t fazed as she came out of the gates like a champion and eventually won 6-4, 6-4.

In the quarterfinals, Rybakina got the better of 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. She hit 11 aces in the match and converted 4 out of 6 break points. In the semis, Rybakina managed to ease past two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Rybakina played an aggressive brand of tennis while Azarenka’s second serve let her down immensely. Expect Rybakina to come out all guns blazing as that strategy has come off quite fruitfully for her in this season thus far.

Head-to-Head and Prediction

Aryna Sabalenka has had Elena Rybakina’s number in their previous encounters. The Belarusian star leads by a comfortable 3-0 margin as far as the head-to-head scoreline is concerned. Their most recent encounter came in the round of 16 of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. Rybakina won the match in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.

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