Already before their final match, it was clear, that Elena Rybakina will end the first major of the season as the Top 2 players in the number of aces hit, as well as two of the four players with the fastest serve. The start of their final match at the Rod Laver Arena just proved what stats showed, as they hit seven aces combined just in the first three games.
But the match soon changed from a quick fire to a tactical battle. Rybakina, who had an experience with a Grand Slam final, as she's the reigning Wimbledon champion, was the first player to break.
But it didn't take long before Sabalenka broke back and leveled the score at 4 games each in the first set. However, Rybakina didn't hold her firepower back either, and immediately broke back and won the first set 6-4, after a hold to love.
It was the first set that the Belarusian lost in 2023 and she needed to quickly recover if she wanted to spend the Saturday evening with the champion's trophy in her hands. She did exactly that as she saved two break points in the first set and got the first break of the second set in the fourth game to lead 3-1.
Sabalenka would then deny the only chance to break that her opponent had in the following game, and despite not using any of the following five break points that she had in the second set, she has won it 6-3 and took the final to the decider.
Although there were not as many aces hit in the third set as in the previous two, both players realized how important it was to hold their serve. Both were successful in doing that for quite some time, until the Kazakh started struggling in the seventh game.
She faced three break points in that game, and despite finding a big first serve on the first two, she couldn't do the same on the third break point, as Sabalenka got the first break of the decider.
The Belarusian was in trouble already in the next game, but thanks to a few big serves, she held her service game and came only one game away from winning her first Grand Slam title.
After Rybakina won her service game to keep her hopes in the final alive, Sabalenka pulled a few terrific serves once again to win the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes to win the first Grand Slam title of her career.
She will move to the world no. 2 position in WTA Rankings, but Rybakina will also make a big move forwards, as she's set to break into the Top 10 on Monday.