Belarusian Tennis Star Aryna Sabalenka Wins Australian Open

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Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka claimed her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory against Kazakh Elena Rybakina in a thrilling final, at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Rybakina went 3-1 up with a comfortable hold after Sabalenka dropped her serve with a double fault and sent a forehand long, but then she came under pressure and allowed her opponent to level the opening set at 4-4.

The Kazakh then hit back immediately to grab another break as Sabalenka double-faulted for a fifth time, before going on to seal the set with a big serve the Belarusian returned into the net.

Kazakh Elena Rybakina in action during Australian Open final against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

It was the first time that Sabalenka had dropped a set in 11 matches in 2023 year and the nerves began to show a bit, before she composed herself and saved two breakpoints in the opening game of the next set.

Sabalenka then found the consistency to break but had to overcome a wobble to grab a 4-1 lead after which she let out a huge roar and levelled the match with her 11th and 12th aces to take the contest to a third set.

Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka in action during Australian Open match against Kazakh Elena Rybakina

Sabalenka served with venom and hammered deep returns in the decider to punch holes through Rybakina’s defence to take a 5-3 lead. She double-faulted on one matchpoint and squandered two more to draw gasps from the crowd.

She took a few deep breaths and tried again before finally closing out the contest to claim the title in spectacular fashion.

“The last game, of course I was a little bit nervous. I kept telling myself ‘Nobody tells you that it’s going to be easy, you just have to work for it till the last point’,” Sabalenka said after the match.

“I’m super happy I was able to handle all those emotions and win this one.”

Sabalenka’s 11th straight win of the year will propel the Belarusian fifth seed back to her career-high ranking of number two behind Poland’s Iga Swiatek, as she reaps the rewards of an improved playing mindset in the New Year.

Source Reuters
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