Today at the Australian Open, the 24-year-old Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka stormed to victory over Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in a riveting two-and-a-half-hour match that spanned three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. As this year’s women’s singles champion in Melbourne, Sabalenka will be taking home her first Grand Slam title, capping an extraordinary start to 2023 after winning her first 11 matches of the season and already receiving two titles within the first month of the year. 

While this year’s women’s singles race felt wide open after a number of favorites were knocked out in earlier rounds, both Sabalenka and Rybakina proved their right to be in the final with their intense focus, athleticism, and of course, their breathtakingly powerful serves and groundstrokes. Rybakina, who took home her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year, kicked off the match explosively, dropping just six service points in the opening set. But from the beginning of the second set onwards, the battle between the two players—which was as much a test of Sabalenka’s psychological mettle as it was of both their volcanic power—began to turn, with Sabalenka settling in and breaking serve for a 3-1 lead.  

Elena Rybakina plays a forehand.Photo: Getty Images

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