Aryna Sabalenka finally has her breakthrough.
In the early hours of the morning on Saturday, the 24-year-old Sabalenka was able to defeat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan — the 2022 Wimbledon champion — in a three-set thriller to win the 2023 Australian Open. It is the first Grand Slam single’s title of Sabalenka’s career.
The Belarusian-born Sabalenka becomes the first player competing under a neutral flag to secure a grand slam.
Sabalenka, who was the No. 5 seed in the tournament, dropped the opening set to the No.22-seed Rybakina before rallying to pick up the 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
After securing match point, Sabalenka was overwhelmed with emotion and fell to the court.
𝗦𝗔𝗕𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗡𝗞𝗔 𝗜𝗦 𝗔 𝗚𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗦𝗟𝗔𝗠 𝗪𝗜𝗡𝗡𝗘𝗥 🏆
Aryna Sabalenka secures her first major title at the Australian Open courtesy of a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 success over Elena Rybakina in the final in Melbourne! @SabalenkaA | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/jou0ywYnoC
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) January 28, 2023
Along with the Australian Open trophy and title of Grand Slam champion, Sabalenka earns a cool $3 million for her victory.
It was an incredible match between two of the hardest hitters in women’s tennis, but ultimately it was Sabalenka who was able to overcome some ill-timed double faults and unforced errors to hold on for the win in the decider.
The legendary @BillieJeanKing passes Daphne to @SabalenkaA 🏆#AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/TGdV0Qjteh
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2023