It is January 26, Australia's National Day, and the cannons go off early in the day and the planes fly over Melbourne while history presides over the women's semifinals of this Australian Open.
From the celebrity box,
The Original Nine
, seven of the nine heroines who defied a world of men and forever changed their sport, enjoy, comment and nod: indeed, nice finale.
Aryna Sabalenka against Elena Rybakina, from deck to deck.
Two players without mediocrities that are trading upwards;
surely, the two best of the tournament and deserving of the square.
The first, 23 years old and superior this Thursday to the veteran Victoria Azarenka (7-6 (4) and 6-3), already conquered Wimbledon last summer with a bomb-proof cold blood, while the second, a volcano in eruption, he looks for the definitive recipe against his own nature: calm is the secret, who knows if success.
There is no one to stop him in this 2023, summarized in a plenary session: 10 games and as many victories;
20 sets played and many others in the pocket;
title in Adelaide and now, for the first time and after colliding three times with the barrier of the penultimate round, in the grand final of one of the four sanctuaries.
Rybakina melts down the almighty Swiatek
After 20 participations in the
, Sabalenka finally finds her reward, in the absence of putting the tie on Saturday's appointment (9.30, Eurosport).
She will arrive after an immaculate layout –Sherif, Kontaveit, Alexandrova, García and Pliskova before defeating Magda Linette (7-6 (1) and 6-1) – and with a remarkable evolution.
Devoured by the pressure and the double faults, she has corrected the biomechanics in the serve and from the mental point of view she has taken an important leap.
With the same appetite and the same as always, she tempers herself and approaches where she sensed that she could reach.
She has champion builds.
“I think it's normal and okay to feel a little nervous.
It's a great tournament, a great final.
But I still have one more game left;
It's good to know that I'm over the semi-final barrier, but I still have one more game to go.
I just want to stay focused, "she told reporters, while acknowledging that she has stopped working with her psychologist and that now she herself is the one who" accepts and deals with "her" own responsibility "for she.
Pure power and precision from @SabalenkaA 😮@Kia_Worldwide • #MovementThatInspires • #AusOpen • #AO2023@wwos • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis pic.twitter.com/6tIXHB6wvA
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2023
With 11 trophies on file, the Belarusian (24 years old and virtual two in the world) accelerates and decisively faces Rybakina, an iceberg that rarely loses her compass, whether the odds come better or worse.
It was not easy to cross her with Azarenka, champion of the tournament in 2012 and 2013, another life already, but she knew how to channel it and without making noise she will face her second Grand Slam final.
The precedents say that the wind blows against her: three duels, three defeats;
Wuhan (2019), Wimbledon and Abu Dhabi (2021).
However, she knows the curveballs of a grand finale and threatens it.
From power to power, the epilogue guarantees a dizzying afternoon.
"It's going to be tough, that's for sure," said Rybakina, who on the way to Saturday's duel has dropped three
winners (Swiatek, Ostapenko and Azarenka), making her the first to do something like this since Jennifer Capriati (Hingis, Davenport and Seles) did it in the 2001 edition;
“They all have a lot of experience and it has been a great challenge for me, but I would say that everything has been easier than at Wimbledon [in July], because then I played the quarterfinals, the semifinals and the final for the first time.”
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