Aryna Sabalenka's comeback in the Australian Open final sent her into the grand slam record books. 

Sabalenka beat last year's Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 4-6 6-3 6-4 in Melbourne on Saturday.

That saw the fifth seed clinch her maiden grand slam title, and become the fifth woman in the Open Era to achieve the feat via a comeback in the final.

Sabalenka joined Nancy Richy, Jelena Ostapenko, Sofia Kenin and, ironically, Rybakina on that list.

The Belarusian hit 17 aces against Rybakina, trailing only Serena Williams (18 against Maria Sharapova in the 2015 final) for the highest amount of aces in a women's singles showpiece match at Melbourne Park.

Sabalenka has now won the title in three of the four tournaments in which she has faced Rybakina (Wuhan 2019, Abu Dhabi 2021 and the Australian Open 2023).

She is the 29th different woman in the Open Era to secure the title at the Australian Open and the 58th women's player in the Open Era to win a major.

Aryna Sabalenka says becoming world number one is the next target on her list after beating Elena Rybakina in Saturday's Australian Open final to win her first grand slam.

The 24-year-old recovered from behind at Rod Laver Arena to beat reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina 4-6 6-3 6-4 and become the 58th different women's player to win a major in the Open Era. 

Having previously fallen short in three semi-finals, Sabalenka became the fifth female player in the Open Era to win her maiden grand slam final, with Rybakina being another.

After adding her name to an exclusive list, Sabalenka is now targeting the number one spot for the first time, which is held by Iga Swiatek.

"As I've said, we all have the same kind of goals," Sabalenka, set to move up to second in the updated rankings, said at her post-match press conference. "Winning a grand slam is not the last on my list."

Sabalenka, who described her performance as "the best of my life", has now won 23 matches in a row to start the 2023 season.

 

She made 17 aces against Rybakina, whom she is now 4-0 against in head-to-head encounters, with that bettered only by Serena Williams (18 versus Maria Sharapova in 2015) in the past 20 Australian Open women's finals.

And the Belarusian – competing under a neutral flag in Melbourne – puts her breakthrough grand slam triumph down to changing her mindset and becoming calmer on court.

"I always had this weird feeling that when people would come to me and ask for signature, I would be like, 'why are you asking for signature? I'm nobody. I'm a player. I don't have a grand slam' and all this stuff," she said.

"I just changed how I feel. I started respecting myself more. I started to understand that actually I'm here because I work so hard and I'm actually good player.

"Just having this understanding that I'm a good player, understanding I can handle a lot of emotions, a lot of things on court. Every time I had a tough moment on court, I was just reminding myself that I'm good enough to handle all this."

Rybakina defeated major champions Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka en route to the final, though she was unable to add to the Wimbledon crown she won in July.

The 22nd seed took the first set – the first Sabalenka has dropped this year – but her opponent's serve soon clicked into gear and Rybakina had no response.

"She served really well today no matter the double-faults," Rybakina said. "A few second serves she hit probably as a first serve.

"For sure it's not easy mentally. She didn't have great serve last year, but now she's super strong and she served well. I respect that. I know how much work it takes.

"I think Aryna raised her level in the second set. She played really well, aggressive, made fewer mistakes. I should have been more aggressive also in some moments.

"I had some chances to turn it around. But she played really well today. She was strong mentally and physically. Overall it was a good two weeks for me here."

As Saturday's Australian Open final pitted two of the most powerful players on the WTA Tour against one another, of course Russell Crowe was in Rod Laver Arena to see these modern gladiators do battle.

Much like Crowe's Hollywood epic, this encounter took two and a half hours to reach its conclusion. When it did, it was the brute strength and bravery of Aryna Sabalenka that made her a first-time grand slam champion.

Sabalenka, having so often fallen frustratingly short on the biggest stage, stuck to the principles that had carried her this far and was rewarded with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat of Elena Rybakina.

A change has been noted in Sabalenka's manner in Melbourne, a calmer approach in difficult moments – and there were plenty against Rybakina.

Sabalenka had previously spoken of the need to be "boring" to win a major, but she argued ahead of this final: "I don't think it's that boring to watch me. I hope [not]. Just less negative emotions."

Are you not entertained? Crowe and the rest of the crowd watching this back-and-forth certainly were, chiefly due to Sabalenka's unrelenting aggression.

It was most evident on the second serve as Sabalenka repeatedly went after her opponent. Perhaps she felt she had no choice.

Rybakina had won a tournament-leading 73 points against the second serve prior to the final; easing up would have invited her own immense power into the equation.

Instead, Sabalenka's second serve averaged 149km/h. The result was only a 47 per cent success rate and seven double faults – but also the title.

Rybakina went in the opposite direction and, after a strong start, paid the price.

Her second serve was down at 136km/h and led to only a single double fault, yet Sabalenka, initially understandably nervous, grew into the match and won 23 return points against the second serve. She met Rybakina's uncharacteristically delicate touch with a hammer.

Rybakina's thinking had been set forth after her first night match of the tournament against Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals.

"Maybe I will not have to serve that big, that fast, so it doesn't really matter the speed," she explained. "It's important to have a good placement on the serve.

"In these conditions, to serve full, full power, it's not easy. The ball is not really going."

It still went at times in the final – a 195km/h serve matched any previously seen in Melbourne this year – but that placement was not there; landing only 59 per cent of her first serves in, Melbourne's ace queen allowed Sabalenka to become a little too familiar with this change of tack on second serve.

Having eliminated three major champions, including world number one Iga Swiatek, and last year's finalist en route to the showpiece match, it was undoubtedly a risk for Rybakina to alter her game with the title in sight.

She may well have thought it had paid off after taking the first set; although her three previous matches against Sabalenka had all gone to three sets, all had been lost after Rybakina dropped the opener.

But Sabalenka roared back, recovering from 15-40 in the opening game of the second and building from there.

Once the tide turned, it became increasingly unclear whether Rybakina was steadfastly sticking to her slower, supposedly more accurate method or had simply been sapped of her energy by the sublime force of Sabalenka, who racked up 51 winners.

It was ultimately the Belarusian – a first neutral champion – who succeeded in showing something different, her 11th win in succession to start the season seeing her drop a set for the first time yet still triumph.

As emotion overcame Sabalenka before she promised "even better tennis" in Australia next year, Rybakina was left with much to ponder.

Both women outlined their desire for "many more battles", and the Wimbledon champion might hope the conditions next time tee her up to take Sabalenka on at her own game.

Sabalenka is the opponent Rybakina has faced most often without winning; if this is to develop into the sort of rivalry women's tennis has not seen for some time, that is going to need to change.

Aryna Sabalenka vowed to have many more battles with the impressive Elena Rybakina after securing her first grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Belarusian Sabalenka was far from her best in the first set on Rod Laver Arena but made amends for her errant serving with a heavy-hitting showing to down Rybakina 4-6 6-3 6-4 on Saturday.

Victory over the 23-year-old marked Sabalenka's 11th straight win to start the 2023 season, dropping to her knees to celebrate after falling just short in previously reaching three major semi-finals.

World number five Sabalenka heaped praise on Rybakina, who had looked on course to back up her 2022 Wimbledon triumph, as she reflected on a maiden grand slam success.

"First of all, I want to say sorry for my English as I am still shaking and am super nervous," she said on court after her triumph.

"Secondly, it's such an inspiration to receive this trophy from you [Billie Jean King]. Thank you so much for everything you've done for our sport. I couldn't be more thankful.

"I want to congratulate Elena for an incredible two weeks. You are such a great player.

"I hope we have many more battles and hopefully [they will be] in the finals of grand slams.

"Congratulations to your team. You guys are amazing and have done such a good job.

"It was an amazing atmosphere. I hope next year I come back even stronger and I will show you all [the Australian fans] even better tennis."

Addressing her own team, Sabalenka added: "We've been through a lot of downs last year.

"We worked so hard and you guys deserve this trophy. This is more about you than about me. Thank you so much for everything you do for me. I love you guys."

 

Rybakina, the 22nd seed in Melbourne, defeated major champions Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka en route to the final amid a scintillating run in Australia.

But she slipped to a fourth straight defeat in head-to-head clashes with Sabalenka.

"I would like to congratulate Aryna on the title and a great start to the season. I know how hard you and your team have worked for that," Rybakina said.

"Good luck for the rest of the season and hopefully we are going to have many more battles.

"I want to say a big thank you to my team for the great job we have done; to my family, coach and president of the Kazakhstan Federation, thank you so much for the support.

"I had goosebumps with this atmosphere and I am looking forward to coming back next year. Next year I hope to go one better."

Aryna Sabalenka claimed her first grand slam title after fighting back to down Elena Rybakina at the Australian Open on Saturday.

Sabalenka has won all 11 of her matches in 2023 after battling to a thrilling 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over the Wimbledon champion.

Dropping the opener against Rybakina was the first time Sabalenka had lost a set this year.

After moving in front, Rybakina seemed on course to back up last year's major success with a hard-court victory in Melbourne, but fifth seed Sabalenka regained composure after a nervy start to win a gripping encounter.

Both players were impacted by the wind in the early stages with the roof open at the Rod Laver Arena, though Rybakina adapted the quicker to break and go 2-1 up as Sabalenka skewed a forehand wide.

Despite the Belarusian levelling at 4-4 with a powerful backhand, Sabalenka's errant serving proved costly as five double faults allowed Rybakina move ahead and serve out to take the lead.

The match sprung to life as Sabalenka's serve clicked into gear. Rybakina saved two set points but had no answer on the third as an emphatic ace ensured a decider would be required.

World number 25 Rybakina was then overpowered by Sabalenka's heavy-hitting forehand and, despite saving three break points prior, the latter snatched a vital opportunity to go 4-3 up and then move a game away from glory.

That break ultimately proved the difference but Sabalenka had to hold her nerve, with Rybakina making her serve it out.

Despite a double fault on her first championship point and then being unable to convert her next two, Sabalenka claimed the title on her fourth match point as her opponent's forehand went long, with the relief and emotion pouring out as she dropped to the ground.

Data slam: Sabalenka rewarded for grand slam consistency

Sabalenka became the 58th different female player in the Open Era to secure a grand slam title after overcoming the 57th major champion Rybakina, who lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2022.

In the last two seasons, only Iga Swiatek (24) and Jessica Pegula (18) have won more grand slam main-draw matches than Sabalenka (17) as the 24-year-old tasted her first major success, having made it as far as the semi-finals in three previous majors.

Aryna Sabalenka made a giant career breakthrough by reaching the Australian Open final, revealing: "I've dropped my psychologist and appointed myself."

One year on from being near the lowest ebb of her career, struggling to hit a serve into court, Sabalenka is a changed player after working on the biomechanics of her game.

Three times a losing grand slam semi-finalist, she got over that hurdle for the first time by beating Magda Linette 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 in Thursday's second semi-final, setting up a title showdown with Elena Rybakina on Saturday.

Hard work has brought about this change in Sabalenka, who was stacking up double-figure match totals of double faults as a matter of course in the early stages of last season.

There was work with a psychologist in the background, too, but Sabalenka feels that has run its course, and that nobody understands her better than herself.

It is a gamble, but it also seems to be paying off handsomely.

The 24-year-old fifth seed said: "To be honest, I decided to stop working with a psychologist. I realised that nobody other than me will help, you know?

"In the pre-season I spoke to my psychologist saying, 'Listen, I feel like I have to deal with that by myself', because every time I'm hoping that someone will fix my problem, it's not fixing my problem.

"I just have to take this responsibility and I just have to deal with that. I'm not working with a psychologist any more. I'm my psychologist."

The experiment is working just fine so far, with Sabalenka having a perfect run through her first 10 matches of the year, picking up an Adelaide International title and powering through the grand slam rounds in Melbourne.

She has yet to drop a set this season, and now a first grand slam singles title is tantalisingly close.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina stands in her way, with Sabalenka disclosing she mostly ignored the grass-court slam last year after Russian and Belarusian players were banned from competing.

"I didn't watch Wimbledon last year. I was feeling really bad about that, and I didn't watch Wimbledon at all," the Belarusian said.

"A little bit the final just because I was working out in the gym. I saw a little bit. It was great tennis."

Sabalenka, who is not known for hiding her emotions, appears to be on a sturdy keel in Australia and said she kept the celebrations low-key after beating Linette because "there is one more match to go".

She has won all three of her past matches against Rybakina, but they all came before the Kazakhstani became a major champion.

It is Rybakina who carries the experience of winning in a slam final into Sunday's trophy match, which can be seen as an advantage.

The psychologist lurking within Sabalenka has delivered impressive results so far, and the on-court focus she has demonstrated suggests the woman from Minsk is unlikely to lose any mental battle.

"To be honest, I think I'm not going to do something extra," Sabalenka said. "I think it's okay to feel a little bit nervous. It's a big tournament, a big final. If you're going to start trying to do something about that, it's going to become bigger, you know?

"I'll just leave it like that. It's okay to feel nervous. She's playing great tennis, serving well. I just have to be there and have to work for it and put her under pressure. Yeah, that's it."

Aryna Sabalenka's dream start to 2023 continued as she reached her first grand slam final at Magda Linette's expense after Elena Rybakina took out another major winner at the Australian Open.

Sabalenka dispatched unseeded Pole Linette 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to stand a win away from her maiden grand slam title.

The 24-year-old from Belarus arrived at Melbourne Park on a high from winning the Adelaide International without dropping a set.

Sabalenka has gone from strength to strength, with the victory over Linette ensuring she has won all 20 sets she has played in 2023.

The fifth seed is the third female player this century to win her first 10 matches of the season without dropping a set after Anna Smashnova in 2002 and Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. 

Rybakina got the better of Victoria Azarenka in the first semi-final on Rod Laver Arena, prevailing 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

The Wimbledon champion has seen off three grand slam champions to reach her second major final, the first of those being world number one Iga Swiatek before she got past Jelena Ostapenko and two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka.

Kazakh Rybakina is the first player to beat a trio of major champions en route to the final of the Australian Open since American Jennifer Capriati back in 2001.

Capriati climbed the title when she achieved that feat 22 years ago.

Elena Rybakina is thrilled her parents will be on hand for Saturday's Australian Open final after they were unable to witness her Wimbledon triumph.

The Moscow-born 23-year-old, now competing for Kazakhstan, achieved a grand slam breakthrough when she overcame Ons Jabeur to triumph at the All England Club last July.

It was a victory that was tinged with sadness, though, with father Andrey and mother Ekaterina not able to obtain visas to travel from Russia to London.

Rybakina broke down in tears in a press conference after her Wimbledon triumph when asked about her absent parents, but they are with her in Melbourne and will be in the stands to watch the title match against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

A 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win against two-time champion Victoria Azarenka on Thursday carried Rybakina through to the showpiece match.

When she was asked whether being on site makes the occasion more special for her parents, Rybakina said: "For sure it's great for them. I didn't even talk with them yet, but I'm sure they're happy. They don't see me often playing live, so I think this time it's a big result already.

"No matter how I play in the final, I think they're very proud and happy.

"For sure they're nervous. I think every match I play they're nervous, no matter if it's live or they're watching on TV. You can never get used to this. Of course, you're going to be nervous no matter if it's first round or final."

Rybakina has lost her three previous matches against Sabalenka, with each of them following the same pattern. Sabalenka has won the first set every time, dropped the second, and then come back to convincingly take the decider.

They have not played since 2021, however, and Rybakina has become a slam champion since then, while Sabalenka still awaits a breakthrough on that scale.

Given Sabalenka is unbeaten in 10 matches this year and has yet to even drop a set, Rybakina may still have her work cut out at the weekend.

However, Rybakina is the player who sank the title hopes of world number one Iga Swiatek in round four, and she also saw off the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko, a former French Open winner, before toppling Azarenka.

"It was a great challenge for me because for sure they have experience of winning grand slams, so it was nothing new for them," Rybakina said. "For me this time I would say it was a bit easier also compared to Wimbledon when I was playing for the first time in the quarters, semis, final.

"For sure, they're very experienced players. I knew that I have to focus on every point. I think in the end I did real well."

The difference between Rybakina before last year's Wimbledon and the player now in the hunt for a second grand slam is obvious.

She knows there are no limits for her at these tournaments, having gone all the way, whereas Sabalenka has never previously contested a singles slam final.

"Everything was new at Wimbledon. Now I more or less understand what to expect," Rybakina said.

Her parents have a grip on what she can achieve too, and Andrey's suggestion she should have gone to college as a teenager rather than join the professional ranks is something they can now laugh off.

"Well, we didn't talk about this, but I will ask for sure now since you mention it," Rybakina said, when her father's advice was brought up. "For every parent, it's difficult to make any decision because I'm young and of course I want to play. For them, they're worried if I will be injured or something.

"But I think he's happy and he's very proud. I know that from the beginning, they believed in me no matter if I will lose first round or anything as a junior because they saw also potential, how I loved the game. I think they're just proud now."

Victoria Azarenka was not impressed with being asked a "provocative question" about a pro-Russia demonstration at the Australian Open after her semi-final defeat to Elena Rybakina.

Azarenka's quest to end a 10-year wait for a third grand slam singles title ended when the Belarusian was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 by the Wimbledon champion on Thursday.

The 33-year-old's loss on Rod Laver Arena came after Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan, was seen with supporters of Russian president Vladimir Putin at Melbourne Park.

Pro-Putin agitators staged a rally outside Rod Laver Arena, after Djokovic beat Russian Andrey Rublev to reach the last four on Wednesday, with four people later questioned by police following allegations that security guards were threatened.

Rublev has previously expressed his opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine, which has been ongoing since last February.

Putin supporters chanted and carried Serbian and Russian flags. One man appeared to be wearing a T-shirt adorned with the letter 'Z' – used as a pro-war symbol in Russia.

Srdjan Djokovic was seen standing with the group alongside a man holding a Russian flag with Putin's face on it. According to reports, he said: "Long live the Russians."

Tennis Australia banned Russian and Belarusian flags from being taken into grounds, after a spectator was reported to security for displaying one during a match between Ukraine's Kateryna Baindl and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova.

Azarenka was not happy with being asked about political issues during her post-match press conference.

She told a reporter: "You're here talking about it right now, so obviously it's a topic you want to continue to bring up and up and up again. I don't know what you want me to say."

Asked if Djokovic might be affected by the incident, Azarenka replied: "I don't know what it has to do with Novak at all, to be fair, so...

"I've spoken to actually a security guard today who was walking me to practice every day. I've known him for years. I just asked him what was the accident [sic]. He explained to me.

"I don't know what you guys want us to do about it. Like talk about it? I don't know what's the goal here that it's continuously brought up. These incidents that in my opinion have nothing to do with players, but somehow you keep dragging players into it.

"So what's the goal here? I think you should ask yourself that question, not me.

"Whatever the answer I'm going to give to you right now, it's going to be turned whichever way you want to turn it to. So does it bother me? What bothers me is there's real things that's going on in the world. I don't know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you covering politics?"

When the reporter said: "No, I'm a sports journalist", Azarenka responded by saying: "And I'm an athlete. You're asking me about things that maybe somebody says are in my control, but I don't believe that.

"I don't know what you want me to answer. If it's a provocative question, then you can spin the story however you want."

Elena Rybakina reached her first Australian Open final with a straight-sets victory over Victoria Azarenka on Rod Laver Arena.   Wimbledon champion Rybakina was not at her best but came from a break down in the opener and went on to win 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 on Thursday.   Rybakina struggled with her first serve, but a below-par Azarenka was unable to capitalise in her first Australian Open semi-final since retaining her title a decade ago.   The Kazakh will face Arnya Sabalenka or Magda Linette in her second grand slam final on Saturday.


Rybakina, the 22nd seed, started with a double fault but there were no signs of nerves as she followed that up with three aces to hold, but Azarenka earned the first break with a well-constructed point that she ended with a volley to lead 3-2.

Azarenka was unable to consolidate that break, though, as a combination of power and precision enabled Rybakina to hit straight back and the 23-year-old was 5-3 up following an unforced error from her experienced opponent.

Rybakina was unable to serve out the set as the battling two-time champion conjured up a majestic forehand winner on the run, saving a set point before breaking back.

There was frustration for 24th seed Azarenka when she saw three break points come and go in the next game as Rybakina endured huge struggles with her first serve, but won a tense, error-strewn tie-break when the former world number one sprayed a forehand wide.

Azarenka saved a break point first game of the second with a sublime cross-court forehand winner and held with an ace, but Rybakina was able to secure the break for a 2-1 lead.

Rybakina wasted a great chance to go 4-1 up when she missed a simple forehand, but she was serving for the set after Azarenka also got a forehand all wrong.

She was unable to serve it out, but a flat Azarenka bowed out following a poor service game that she ended by crashing a backhand into the net.


Rybakina overcomes another major hurdle

That is three major champions Rybakina has seen off to reach her maiden Australian Open final.

She beat strong favourite and world number one Iga Swiatek in the fourth round and got past Jelena Ostapenko before toppling Azarenka.


ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rybakina– 9/3
Azarenka– 3/6

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rybakina– 30/21
Azarenka– 26/27

BREAK POINTS WON

Rybakina – 5/11
Azarenka– 3/8

Jelena Ostapenko was once again left bemoaning the electronic line calling system in place at the Australian Open after her quarter-final defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The Latvian did not blame the system for her loss, with Rybakina sealing a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory on Tuesday, but reiterated her belief that calls are being missed.

When asked following her fourth-round win against Coco Gauff whether she believed in the system, Ostapenko replied with a smile: "Honestly? No."

Speaking after her loss to Rybakina, she again smiled as she said: "I'm not really happy with the system they are using.

"A couple of times it was not even by a couple of centimetres. It was much more than that. But I cannot do anything about it, because it is the way as it is.

"First of all, [the calls] are really late sometimes. You already hit the ball, and then you hear 'out,' which is normally not the way it is with the line umpires. And second of all, some balls were quite, how you say, not a little out. They were [quite] a bit out and they were not called."

The number 17 seed – who suffered her first defeat in nine WTA-level quarter-finals – called for a return of the Hawk-Eye system and line judges, which was replaced at the Australian Open by the electronic system in 2021.

"Honestly, my personal opinion, I wish it would be the Hawk-Eye system and the line umpires, because I feel like that way it's more precise, and much [fewer] mistakes, in my opinion," the 2017 French Open champion added.

"... I think also, that way it looks a little better for me on the court how it is. Not just calling-wise, but in general how the court looks, because with no line umpires, for me, it looks a little empty."

Ostapenko was under no illusion that her own performance had not been at the level it was when she beat Gauff, and suggested that her participation in the mixed doubles late on Monday was a factor.

"I think in general today the level of the match was I think much lower than the previous one," she said. "I felt like me and Coco, we had a really high level of tennis and we played really well. It's a little shame that I couldn't bring this level of the tennis today.

"Obviously [Rybakina] was serving well, but I felt like already in the second set when I had the longer rallies with her, I was winning mostly, so that was my goal to make her play.

"I felt like maybe mixed doubles yesterday was a little bit not the right decision to play that late. But in general I think I can take only positive things out of this week, because it's only the beginning of the season, and if I keep working and keep playing the same way, I think I can be dangerous player."

Elena Rybakina's Wimbledon success last year is helping her to progress at the Australian Open.

The number 22 seed reached the semi-finals after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Fresh from beating world number one Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, the only thing that slowed Rybakina down against the 17th seed was a 20-minute rain delay in the first set.

She got through her quarter-final in just an hour and 19 minutes of play, and pointed to her experience at Wimbledon, which culminated in her maiden grand slam win.

"Of course I got all the experience at Wimbledon, and it's helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect," she said.

"For sure it's just easier in this case after Wimbledon. [I am] feeling good on the court and just really enjoying every match I'm playing here."

Rybakina's serve was a key weapon again, hitting 11 aces and winning 76 per cent (29 of 38) of points on her first serve.

She now has a total of 29 aces in the tournament, the most by a women's player and more than her previous three Australian Open campaigns combined.

"[It is] tough to say for me, because I think compared to other girls, I'm quite tall," she said when asked if hitting aces are an under-used part of women's tennis. "I mean, there [are] other girls which are also strong and tall, but for sure I think it's not only about the height.

"I'm happy with my serve. I guess everybody else needs to think if, in this aspect, they need to work more or not, because some girls, they are fine maybe not with the speed, but they have good angles on the serve. They are opening the court. I think everybody is different, and everybody just trying to do what's best for them on the court."

The 23-year-old will face either Jessica Pegula or Victoria Azarenka in the final four, and is excited by once again being included in the business end of a grand slam.

"Of course in the beginning of the tournament, it feels like, 'Oh, it's such a long tournament'," she said. "Now it seems already close. I'm trying to focus just on one match.

"For sure it's close, that's why everybody I think is now going to try even harder, fight for every ball. It's only good players left. For sure it's going to be tough matches."

Elena Rybakina is through to the semi-final of the Australian Open after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Rybakina, 25, became the first man or woman from Kazakhstan to win a grand slam when she lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2022, and she is now two matches away from securing her second.

Against Latvia's Ostapenko, Rybakina had a clear power advantage, illustrated by her 11 aces while conceding only one.

She secured a break in the first game of the match, and quickly grabbed a second to race through the first set in 33 minutes. 

It was Ostapenko who snagged the early break in the second set, but she was unable to consolidate it, failing to hold serve in each of her next two chances to allow Rybakina to claw back in front.

Ostapenko will rue some wasteful play as she finished with more break point opportunities than her victorious opponent, but was only able to convert one of her eight chances.

Rybakina will meet the winner between Jessica Pegula and Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final.

Data Slam: Rybakina adds a new string to her bow

With 29 aces so far, Rybakina leads all women at this year's Australian Open in the category. That figure is a testament to her overall serving improvement, as well as what is now her deepest run down under, with more aces this tournament than her past three Australian Open campaigns combined.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rybakina – 11/3

Ostapenko – 1/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rybakina – 24/21

Ostapenko – 19/22

BREAK POINTS WON

Rybakina – 4/6

Ostapenko – 1/8

Elena Rybakina believes she can become the best player in the world if she performs as she did in the first week of the Australian Open after beating Iga Swiatek.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina claimed the scalp of the top seed on Sunday, winning 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the quarter-finals.

Swiatek was in a class of her own last year, winning eight titles – including the French Open and the US Open – to firmly establish herself as the best player in the world.

The Pole was the favourite to win the Australian Open for the first time, but the 25-ranked Rybakina sent her packing to set up a showdown with Jelena Ostapenko.

Rybakina made history with her fourth-round win, becoming the first woman representing Kazakhstan to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old knows she has plenty to work on, but feels she can rise to the top of the rankings if she continues to improve and consistently match the high standards she has set at Melbourne Park.

Asked if she can be the best in the world when she's at her best: "Every opponent is really tough, and for sure for me I think there are still many things to improve.

"If I perform like I did this week and consistently, I will say that I can be number one, I can beat anyone. For now, I need to find my consistency."

Rybakina felt she was rewarded for taking such a positive approach against Swiatek.

"For sure when you play against the number one player, I think you have really nothing to lose. I knew that I had to be aggressive from the first ball because she's a great mover, and she defends really well.

"So I was trying to just attack her from the first ball, and it really worked well."

Top seed Iga Swiatek says the pressure of not wanting to lose at the Australian Open got to her and believes she needs a change of mindset after her fourth-round loss to Elena Rybakina.

The three-time grand slam champion had come into the Australian Open as the title favourite but was bundled out by 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes on Sunday.

The Kazakh's power was too much for Swiatek, with Rybakina outstanding on serve, leading to apparent frustration from the world number one as the match slipped away.

"I felt the pressure, and I felt that I don't want to lose instead of I want to win," Swiatek told reporters. "So that's a base of what I should focus on in next couple of weeks.

"It was just tough. But for sure I need to work on my kind of mindset and fight a little bit more as I did last season.

"So, for sure I'm going to take time right now to kind of reset."

Swiatek won both the US Open and French Open titles in 2022, while she went on a 37-match winning streak that ended during Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old Pole denied that the pressure of being the world number one played a part in her exit.

"I don't think that matters," she said. "I experience it differently because I felt differently.

"But I was number one on Roland Garros, I was number one on Wimbledon, and US Open. I was able to - maybe not on Wimbledon - but I was able to play well and compete. I don't think that matters."

Swiatek was able to bounce back from her third-round Wimbledon loss to Alize Cornet quickly by triumphing at Flushing Meadows only two months later but she would not draw an parallels with Sunday's defeat.

"I don't see that many similarities, honestly," Swiatek said. "I feel like it's pretty easy. I just wasted too much energy before the tournament and during the first days of the tournament to worry.

"It's just different period of time for me. Before the US Open I was actually able to kind of let it go because I played pretty bad in Toronto and Cincinnati, and that helped me kind of to reset and just start the US Open without actually expecting much from myself.

"Here was different, so I'm not connecting the US Open with the streak at all. I'm not comparing this situation to my Wimbledon loss."

Swiatek praised Rybakina, who will face Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-finals, for her play on Sunday, stating she was tactically composed and focused.

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