Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka reached a Grand Slam final for the first time in her career on Thursday as she registered a crushing win over Poland's Magda Linette in straight sets of the women's singles semifinal at the Australian Open 2023.
Fifth seed Sabalenka defeated the unseeded Linette 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 to set up the women's singles final against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Sabalenka said she had stopped using a psychologist in the off-season and decided to take her head-game into her own hands.
"I was trying to scream less after some bad points or some errors. I was just trying to hold myself, stay calm, just think about the next point," she said of the semi-final.
"It's really been so rewarding for ... all the sacrifices, all these years on tour, so many Grand Slams. It was my 30th attempt," she said.
Up next for Sabalenka is Russian-born Kazakh Rybakina, after the Wimbledon champion got past another Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in the Rybakinafirst semi-final.
Rybakina ends Azarenka's dream run
Rybakina, 23, won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 against Azarenka, ending the two-time champion's hopes of winning the title 10 years after her last triumph.
"For me this time I would say it was a bit easier also compared to Wimbledon when I was playing for the first time quarters, semis, final," the 23-year-old told reporters. "Everything was new at Wimbledon. Now I more or less understand what to expect."
It was Rybakina's third victory in succession over a Grand Slam champion, having knocked out world number one Iga Swiatek and Jelena Ostapenko in the previous rounds.
The title match will pair two big-serving, baseline pounders with contrasting personalities.
Russian-born Rybakina is the quiet achiever who switched allegiance to Kazakhstan as a 19-year-old and won the central Asian nation its first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year.
The animated Sabalenka has long been seen as a Grand Slam contender but has been a slave to her emotions on the biggest stages.
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