(Brisbane) Elena Rybakina secured a sixth career title after crushing Aryna Sabalenka in two sets of 6-0, 6-3 to win the Brisbane International on Sunday.
Sabalenka, who had won five of her previous seven clashes against Rybakina, had no response to the backcourt shots and deft touches from the fourth-ranked player in the world on Sunday. While Rybakina dominated the final, she emerged as one of the favorites at the Australian Open.
Nearly a year after playing in the Australian Open final, in which Sabalenka beat Rybakina in a tight three-set match, the tables were turned dramatically when the 2022 Wimbledon winner broke Sabalenka three times in the first round. The latter only lasted 24 minutes.
Sabalenka, the favorite in Brisbane, finally got on the scoreboard when she broke her opponent’s serve in the third game of the second set. Rybakina, however, played the same trick on him in the next game to take a 3-1 lead.
Sabalenka won her serve for the first time in the match in the 11th game, but it was too little, too late. Rybakin closed the books on his first match point.
The win capped a dominant week for Rybakina, who has conceded just 15 games total in her five straight wins. It was his first title since Indian Wells last year.
“I would like to congratulate Aryna on a great week and season last year. I hope we meet again in Melbourne, Rybakina said. Despite the score, it’s still difficult to play against you. We always push each other. »
The defeat ended Sabalenka’s 15-game winning streak on Australian soil, including a title in Adelaide last year, before her Grand Slam breakthrough at Melbourne Park. The world’s second racket, however, highlighted this rare defeat.
“I don’t know where to start…it was an interesting match. Thanks for these three matches to at least give a semblance of a fight, Sabalenka joked after the match. I’ll say a few words to my team: you did a bad job today. 6-0, 6-3, it’s all your fault guys. It’s like that. We showed good tennis and I hope we will do better at the Australian Open. »
The final was the first to feature the top two seeds in Brisbane since 2015, when favorite Maria Sharapova held off Ana Ivanovic in three sets.
On the men’s side, second seed Grigor Dimitrov defeated favorite Holger Rune 7-6 (5), 6-4 to claim his first ATP Tour title in six years.
It was a ninth career title for Dimitrov and a first since the ATP Finals in 2017. That year, he also recorded his first title in Brisbane.
“It’s been a while since I held a trophy. I’m a little emotional, said Dimitrov. It’s difficult to describe. Holger, what an adversary he is. My love affair with Brisbane began 11 years ago and I believe it continues. »
Dimitrov had 33 winners and only 14 unforced errors. Rune saved eight break points before Dimitrov finally managed to break him. The duel lasted two hours and 13 minutes.
The third game of the first set revealed a close fight. Rune won his serve in a game that included nine ties and seven game points. He fended off a break point at 2-1, 30-40 in a 33-shot point.
The 32-year-old Dimitrov finally broke Rune in the eighth game of the second set to take a 4-3 lead. In the next game, Rune saved two match points.
Dimitrov ended the debate on his third match point, notably scoring his eighth ace of the match. Rune, 20, was aiming for a fifth career title.
“Congratulations to Grigor, who played an incredible tournament,” Rune said. I think we have a lot to build on after this week and hopefully we can give even more at the Australian Open. »