Melbourne, Jan 28 (IANS): Belarusian fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to defeat Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final to win the Australian Open 2023 women's singles crown and her first Grand Slam title, here on Saturday.
The match was featured as one between two fearless offensive players, a narrative that played out throughout the duration of the final.
In the end, the players struck 82 winners between them, 51 from the racquet of Sabalenka, but the undaunting play of the No.5 seed during tense moments ultimately made the difference.
At 3-3 in the third set, Sabalenka -- on her third break opportunity of the game -- blistered a second-serve return, then finished off the point with a midcourt overhead winner to take the lead.
She finished off the next game swiftly with an ace, her 16th of the match, for a 5-3 lead. Rybakina, last year's Wimbledon champion, held on to make it 5-4.
With Sabalenka, taking the court to finish off the match, she took a few deep breaths and as she methodically walked to the court. After winning on her fourth match point, Sabalenka fell to the court in celebration when Rybakina overhit a forehand long.