Aryna Sabalenka remembers watching the 2016 Australian Open final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber while having a chocolate in a local cafe. Sabalenka, 24, has been through to her first Grand Slam final after beating Magda Linette 7-6 (1) 6-2 in the Australian Open semifinal.
Seven years ago, Sabalenka was having some chocolate and watching Kerber's upset win over Williams in the Australian Open final. “I remember that match Kerber against Serena. Yeah, I think I remember a little bit. There was TV in the cafe.
I was buying some chocolate. Like, Oh, nice match, good job. Can I get my chocolate?" Sabalenka recalled, per Musab Abid.
Aryna Sabalenka on the Slam finals she watched as a youngster:
“I remember that match Kerber against Serena…Yeah, I think I remember a little bit.
There was TV in the cafe. I was buying some chocolate. Like, Oh, nice match, good job. Can I get my chocolate?” — Musab (@Musab_Abid) January 26, 2023
Sabalenka's 'boring' approach leads to success
Since the start of the season, Sabalenka has spoken several times about her new attitude and demeanor.
In the past, Sabalenka used to get irked and frustrated very easily on the court and that would lead to self-destruction. But at the start of the 2023 season, Sabalenka is doing her best to stay calm and composed in every situation.
Sabalenka's new attitude and demeanor has led to her reaching her first Grand Slam final at Melbourne Park. “I'm not that boring, I think. I'm still screaming 'c'mon' and all that stuff. I don't think it's that boring to watch me.
I hope so. Just less negative emotions," Sabalenka said.
In the Australian Open final, Sabalenka will be playing against the reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Sabalenka said earlier she wanted to be ‘boring’ in her matches, but she knows that she’s still quite entertaining:
“I'm not that boring, I think.
I'm still screaming 'c'mon' and all that stuff. I don't think it's that boring to watch me. I hope so. Just less negative emotions”. — Musab (@Musab_Abid) January 26, 2023
Rybakina has the experience of playing in a Grand Slam final, having defeated Ons Jabeur in the 2022 Wimbledon final. Against Rybakina, Sabalenka owns a very positive 3-0 head-to-head record. In December, Sabalenka suffered her first loss against Rybakina as the Kazakh defeated her in an exhibition event in Dubai.
But since exhibition matches don't count as official matches, Sabalenka still has a perfect 3-0 head-to-head against Rybakina. It remains to be seen if Sabalenka can beat Rybakina again and become a Grand Slam champion.
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