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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Elena Rybakina Dominates Brisbane International, Seizing Sixth Career Title in Convincing Victory over Sabalenka

Elena Rybakina clinched her sixth career title in impressive fashion, delivering a commanding 6-0, 6-3 victory over top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka to claim the Brisbane International title. The triumph serves as an ideal warm-up for Rybakina as she prepares for the upcoming Australian Open.

In the men’s event, Grigor Dimitrov emerged victorious in the final against top-seeded Holger Rune.

Sabalenka, having won five of their previous seven encounters, found herself unable to counter Rybakina’s laser-like groundstrokes and skillful net play. The world No. 4 showcased dominance throughout the final, solidifying her status as a formidable contender for the imminent Australian Open.

In a dramatic turn of events almost a year after their contested Australian Open final, where Sabalenka narrowly defeated Rybakina in a three-set battle, the tables were decisively turned. The 2022 Wimbledon winner broke Sabalenka three times in a remarkably one-sided first set, lasting just 24 minutes on Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.

Sabalenka managed to break serve in the ninth game, securing her first game on the scoreboard. However, Rybakina promptly responded by breaking back immediately, securing a 3-1 lead in the second set.

While Sabalenka held serve for the first time in the match in the 11th game, it proved too little, too late. Rybakina maintained composure, closing out the match on her first match point opportunity. The reigning Australian Open champion’s attacking forehand went wide, sealing Rybakina’s victory.

Rybakina’s dominant week included conceding just 15 games across five straight-set victories, marking her sixth career title and the first since her win at Indian Wells last year.

In her post-match remarks, Rybakina graciously acknowledged Sabalenka’s achievements, saying, “I’d like to say congrats, Aryna, for a great week and great season last year, and hopefully we meet in Melbourne.

Notably, the final marked the first time the top two seeds faced off in Brisbane since 2015 when No. 1 Maria Sharapova prevailed over No. 2 Ana Ivanovic in a three-set encounter.

Rybakina’s triumph in Brisbane solidifies her momentum heading into the Australian Open, where she will aim to make a significant impact in the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. The victory not only highlights her prowess on the court but also positions her as a contender to watch in the competitive women’s tennis landscape. As the tennis world turns its attention to Melbourne, the stage is set for an exciting and fiercely contested Australian Open.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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