Wimbledon champion Rybakina to face Sabalenka in Australian Open final
MELBOURNE – Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina will look to add the Australian Open title after claiming the 2022 Wimbledon crown.
She beat two-time Melbourne champion Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in Thursday’s first women’s semi-final on Rod Laver Arena.
In a match of wild momentum swings, Rybakina held her nerve when it counted, staying strong as 24th-seeded Azarenka foundered in a messy first set tiebreak then dropped serve twice to fall 5-2 behind in the second set.
The 22nd-seeded Rybakina was broken as she served for the set but Azarenka double-faulted to give up three match points in the next game, allowing the Moscow-born Rybakina to close out an emphatic win.
“I’m super happy to be in the final. Today it was a bit tougher for me because it was different conditions,” said Rybakina, 23.
“I couldn’t play really aggressive tennis. The ball was not going so much, but I’m happy that in the end I managed to win.
“I’ll try my best in the final of course.”
Azarenka’s fellow Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka took on Magda Linett of Poland in the second semi-final. She won 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 and will face Rybakina in the title-decider on Saturday.
Sabalenka is the highest-ranked player left in the women’s draw at fifth in the world and is favourite to win her first Grand Slam. AFP