Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka bests Magda Linette to reach maiden GS finale

The fifth-ranked Sabalenka's yet to drop a set in Melbourne Park

by Abbey Johnson
Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka bests Magda Linette to reach maiden GS finale

Aryna Sabalenka made it to her first Major final at the Australian Open after winning against Magda Linette in their semi-final on Thursday. The fifth seed took an hour and 33 minutes to claim a 7-6(1), 6-2 win. Sabalenka also needed four match points to close out the match.

Linette started the match with a break as her opponent struggled to calm her nerves down. The Pole also consolidated the break to go up 2-0 in the set. The third game onwards Sabalenka worked towards getting herself steady, emotionally and tactically.

A break back in the fourth game gave the world no. 5 a way back into the set and she never looked back for the rest of the match.

Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka marks new milestone

Sabalenka’s shots found their mark from the back of the court as Linette began to struggle to keep up with them.

Nonetheless, both players did well to hold their serves right until the 12th game. In the tie-break, it was Sabalenka who took control over play as she struck winner after winner to race away to a 6-0 lead. The 24-year-old did drop a point with a forced error before pocketing the set on an error off Linette.

After securing the lead for herself, Sabalenka raced away through the second set even as Linette’s frustrations and control over the proceedings went awry. The 30-year-old, however, did well to stay on in the match after facing three match points in the eighth game of the set.

Forced to serve for the match, Sabalenka found herself in some pressure as she was taken to 30-all before she brought up a fourth match point for herself with an ace and went on to convert it with a forehand winner. Sabalenka who’d struggled with her serve in her quarter-final against Donna Vekic, hitting nine double faults was much better today, and had just two double faults.

She won 70% of her first-serve points and 64% of her second-serve points against Linette winning 59% and 52% respectively. Sabalenka also hit 33 winners to Linette’s nine and had 25 unforced errors to the latter’s 17.

Aryna Sabalenka’s previous best at the Australian Open had been reaching the fourth round on two occasions, in 2021-22. Against Elena Rybakina, Sabalenka’s head-to-head’s 3-0 with their most-recent match coming in the fourth round of 2021 Wimbledon. Photo Credit: WTA Insider Twitter

Australian Open Aryna Sabalenka Magda Linette