Australian Open: Super Sabalenka sinks Linette to reach first grand slam singles final

By Sports Desk January 26, 2023

Aryna Sabalenka reached uncharted territory in her career by fending off Magda Linette to set up an Australian Open final showdown with Elena Rybakina.

Only a year ago, Sabalenka's game was in crisis as she struggled horrendously with serving yips, but now a first grand slam singles title match awaits the Belarusian.

She scored a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 victory over unseeded Polish player Linette on Rod Laver Arena, recovering from going an early break down in the first set before taking command of the contest.

Trailing 2-0 and 30-all on serve, Sabalenka ripped a brilliant forehand winner on the run and yelled "Come on!", looking to gee herself up. It did the trick as she won the game to gain a foothold, then came from 40-0 behind in Linette's next service game to break back.

Neither player had a further break point before the tie-break, which fifth seed Sabalenka dominated, before racing 4-1 ahead in the second set.

The 24-year-old, facing an opponent six years her senior, gave Linette precious little hope of a comeback. Linette admirably staved off three match points at 5-1 down, holding serve to keeping Sabalenka waiting, but the deepest grand slam run of her career is over.

Now opportunity knocks for Sabalenka in the biggest match of her life at the weekend, her 20th WTA-level singles final, with Wimbledon champion Rybakina standing in her way.

Data slam: Taking a straight line to glory

Sabalenka has won 10 out of 10 matches in 2023 so far, landing a title in Adelaide before embarking on this run in Melbourne. More impressive than that is all the wins have come in straight sets. She had lost three slam singles semi-finals leading up to this Linette clash, but now that hurdle has been cleared.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Sabalenka – 6/2
Linette – 1/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Sabalenka – 33/25
Linette – 9/16

BREAK POINTS WON

Sabalenka – 3/7
Linette – 1/4

Related items

  • Defending champion Alcaraz stunned by Draper at Queen's Defending champion Alcaraz stunned by Draper at Queen's

    Jack Draper earned the biggest win of his career, upsetting defending Queen's Club champion Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets on Thursday.

    He followed up his first ATP tour title in Stuttgart with a statement win, beating the French Open winner 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

    He did not lose a service game in a dominant display, though Alcaraz did not lose one in the opening set either, forcing a tie-break before his sloppiness allowed Draper to edge in front.

    Despite Alcaraz bringing his usual threat, Draper got a vital break to make it 4-2 in the second set, rallying to see out a third victory against top-10 opposition.

    Draper will play fifth seed Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals.

    Data Debrief: Alcaraz sees streak snapped

    Alcaraz had won eight consecutive matches coming into this meeting thanks to his victory at Roland Garros, but could not find a way past Draper.

    The British number one impressed, especially in his serves, winning 76 per cent of his service points during the one hour 39 minute contest.

     

  • Sinner rallies to reach Halle Open quarter-finals Sinner rallies to reach Halle Open quarter-finals

    Jannik Sinner survived a scare to reach the quarter-finals of the Halle Open after beating Fabian Marozsan on Thursday.

    After having to go all the way in the opening round, Sinner was once again forced into a decider but eventually came out on top 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3.

    It looked like it might be an easier match for Sinner after he took the first set, but Marozsan rallied in the second. The world number one was able to force a tie-break, but he could not get the better of the Hungarian's aggressive play.

    Sinner did get a decisive break in the decider though, lunging to the net to get a vital point as he rushed into a 4-0 lead before holding out to reach the next round.

    Data Debrief: Sinner stays in the hunt

    Sinner is still chasing his first grass-court title, and looks like he will be pushed all the way to get one in Germany.

    He has improved his record for the season to 35-3 after beating Marozsan in their first ATP meeting.

  • Murray hopeful that latest injury will not affect Wimbledon participation Murray hopeful that latest injury will not affect Wimbledon participation

    Andy Murray hopes his latest injury will not rule him out of his Wimbledon swansong next month after withdrawing from the Queen's Club Championships on Wednesday.

    The former world number one was forced to retire against Jordan Thompson five games into their second-round encounter due to a back injury and pain in his right leg.

    It was a sad end for Murray, who has won the tournament a record five times. However, attention will immediately turn to being fit for Wimbledon, which starts on July 1. 

    "Let's hope it will be OK with some rest and treatment, and I'll still be able to play [at Wimbledon]," said Murray, who won two Wimbledon titles in 2013 and 2016.

    The three-time grand slam champion was set to play an exhibition event in Hurlingham next week before Wimbledon but looks likely to miss the event. 

    Murray had said earlier this week he felt ending his illustrious career at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be a fitting stage to retire from the sport. 

    The Scot is set to undergo a scan on Thursday to clarify his potential participation at the tournament next month, where he is also due to play in the doubles alongside his older brother, Jamie. 

    "I don't know exactly what the problem is. I hadn't experienced that before," said Murray. "I have no idea how long it will take to get better and what the treatment options are."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.