Melbourne: Belarus tennis star Aryna Sabalenka clinched her first Grand Slam title by defeating Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in the final of the Australian Open women's singles competition on Saturday. Aryna warded off the Kazakh challenge by 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win the title. Sabalenka owns one of the most coveted titles in the sport after all the accolades and expectations from one of the hardest strikers in the game. After the match an emotional Sabalenka fell near the baseline as she shed tears of joy. Even her coach Anton Dubrov couldn't contain her tears as he too broke down after his wards win.
The match featured two of the most fearless offensive players, with both striking 82 winners between them, with 51 of them coming from Belarusian. But the undaunting play of the number 5 seed during the tense moments of the match made the difference. Rybakina made a great start to the match, clinching a closely-contested first set by 6-4. Following that, Sabalenka made a comeback with a 6-3 win in the second set.
In the third set, both players were tied at 3-3. Sabalenka had her third break opportunity of the game and blistered a second-serve return and finished the point with a midcourt overhead winner to restore her lead. In the next game, she finished swiftly with an ace and took a 5-3 lead. But Rybakina delayed her opponent's win to make it 5-4. Sabalenka took to the court to finish off the match and at her fourth match point, Sabalenka fell to the court joyously as Rybakina hit a forehand long, giving the Belarusian a win.
Sabalenka had more aces, 17 as compared to nine by her opponent, more winners, 51 as compared to 31 by Rybakina and overall points, getting 109 points as compared to 103 points by Rybakina. Sabalenka received the championship trophy from the legendary American tennis player Billie Jean King, whom she thanked for everything she's done for women's sport.
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