Here is the real Sabalenka, Rybakina for an encore: the final in Australia will be a show
Appointment at 9.30. The Belarusian will finish the tournament becoming No. 2 in the world and is looking for the first major tournament in her career, and the Kazakh wants to repeat the success of Wimbledon. It’s the triumph of tennis power
A clear and powerful lesson comes from Arina Sabalenka: Work always pays off. A year ago, the Belarusian had a deep service crisis, a double fault led to another and it seemed impossible to get out of the maelstrom. At the Australian Open, she was knocked out in the round of 16 by Kaia Kanepi, then ranked 115th in the world, with 15 double faults in the match. In the second round, against Shen Yue Wang, he scored 19 points for every five points served. Getting out of it seemed like a feat, but the Minsk native pulled it off. Tomorrow, at 9.30, he can win the first major tournament of his career, and his serve is now an ally: 22 double faults in the entire tournament, compared to 29 aces. The secret to the breakthrough is working with a psychologist and a biomechanic specialist.
Elena Rybakina leads the ace ranking, and she is just great with her serve: 45 aces in the entire tournament, nothing like her. And only 13 double faults: 17 players have performed worse at this edition of the Australian Open, despite playing fewer matches and serving more slowly. The Kazakh athlete, who was born in Moscow, makes the most of her height of 184cm. The 23-year-old has been reborn, having lost a bit after her exploits at Wimbledon, with a victory in the final over Ons Jabeur: there are those who are permanent all year round and then struggle in the Grand Slams (think Pegula and Sakkari) and who, like her, You shine when the going gets tough. What a character.
Rybakina could thus win the second major tournament of her career, after that in the gender-banned Wimbledon version (Russians and Belarusians, in fact) she brought home the glory but not the 2,000 points that usually belong to the winner. Now the ranking began to be more in line with her value: she presented herself at number 25 in the world and is almost at number ten, by winning she will become the eighth player in the WTA ranking. While sure enough, Sabalenka finished the tournament in second place – with three places – behind Iga Swiatek who was defeated by Rybakina in the round of 16.
She pulls hard
The match has many reasons for interest. There are those who talk about the return of strong women’s tennis, in fact Sabalenka and Rybakina are among the most affected tennis players. Albeit in a different way: Arina with biceps, and Elena with flat push-ups. Before the start of the tournament, Nadal criticized the balls: “Those who hit the ball flat have an advantage.” Sabalenka has yet to drop a set in the tournament, Rybakina only one, against Danielle Collins in the second round. The previous three between the players went to the Belarusian, who always won in three sets after coming back for the first match. The last one is at Wimbledon, in 2021, in the round of 16. There are all the ingredients for a super final.
January 27 – 21:20
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