Saturday sees the final of the Australian Open women’s singles as Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina battle it out for the first Grand Slam title of the year.
Although she has yet to win one of the big four events, Sabalenka goes into the final as the favourite having not dropped a set en route to Saturday’s showpiece.
Australian Open Women’s Final Tips
Sabalenka to win @ 8/11
Aryna Sabalenka went into tournament as fifth seed but wasn’t been talked about as one of the favourites to take the title, but she has been imperious on her way to Saturday’s final.
The 24-year-old has reached her first Grand Slam final after falling at the semi-final stage on three previous occasions – once at Wimbledon and twice at the US Open.
Her route to the final has been pretty straight forward, comfortably beating non-seeded duo Tereza Martincova and Shelby Rogers in the first and second rounds respectively.
Experienced Belgian Elise Mertens was brushed aside 6-2, 6-3 in the third round, before Sabalenka beat 12th seed Belinda Bencic in round four.
Donna Vekic was beaten 6-3 6-2 in the quarters, before the Belarussian saw off Poland’s Magda Linette in straight sets in the semi-finals.
Final experience offers Rybakina hope
It’s been less straight forward run for Elena Rybakina, but she has only dropped one set and beaten the top seed on her way to the final.
The Kazakhstani star beat Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the first round, before easing past Kaja Juvan in straight sets in round two.
The only set the 22nd seed has lost in Melbourne came in round three, when she eventually got the better of last year’s runner-up Danielle Collins 6-2 5-7 6-2 before going on to beat world number one and pre-tournament favourite Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-4.
Rybakina saw off two seeded players in straight sets in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, beating Jelena Ostapenko before sealing victory over two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
The 23-year-old – who had never previously got past the third round in Australia – is the current Wimbledon champion and that experience at SW19 should stand her in good stead for this showdown.
Sabalenka to win 2-1 @ 11/4
These two players have met on three previous occasions, with all three meetings taking place over the last four years. Sabalenka has the upper hand, winning all three matches, although it is worth noting that all three meetings went to three sets.
The first clash came in the quarter finals in Wuhan in 2019, when Sabalenka won 6-3 1-6 6-1, before another quarter-final victory for the Belarussian in Abu Dhabi in 2021.
Their most recent meeting and only clash in a Grand Slam event, came in the last-16 of Wimbledon back in 2021.
Sabalenka took the first set 6-3, before Rybakina came back to take the second 6-4, only for the Belarusian to clinch the victory by winning the decider 6-3.
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