Sabalenka, Rybakina to meet in final after seeing off Linette, Azarenka
Melbourne, Australia, Jan 26 (EFE).- Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka stretched her undefeated streak to 10 matches this season with a straight sets win over Poland’s Magda Linette in the Australian Open semi-final on Thursday.
Fifth-seed Sabalenka took just over an hour and a half to defeat the unseeded Linette, who has been one of the revelations of the women’s draw in Melbourne, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
It has taken Sabalenka five years on tour, during which time she has won 11 WTA titles, to make the crucial leap to a Grand Slam final, having lost three times in the semi-finals.
Her opponent in Saturday’s final will be Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, after she beat Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
The Belarusian has a favorable 3-0 head-to-head record against Rybakina. Sabalenka won in three sets in their meetings in Wuhan in 2019 and at Wimbledon and Abu Dhabi in 2021.
The 22nd seed Rybakina, making her first semi-final appearance in Melbourne, beat two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka (24), who at 33 is 10 years older than the Moscow-born Kazakh.
The reigning Wimbledon champion started with an impressive service game, beginning with three aces on the way to hitting nine overall for the match to add to the 35 she had struck in the previous rounds.
Rybakina has now defeated Grand Slam champions, Poland’s Iga Swiatek, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Azarenka on her way to her first Australian Open final. EFE