Aryna Sabalenka reveals she "feels like a different person" since becoming a Grand Slam champion. Sabalenka, who is turning 25 this Friday, became a Grand Slam champion at this year's Australian Open after recovering from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in the final.
In the past, Sabalenka was three times beaten in a Grand Slam semifinal. After finally making a big Grand Slam breakthrough and achieving her biggest dream, Sabalenka instantly felt enormous relief. "After Australian Open I think, yeah, I think everything changed then.
I feel like a different person. I look at the tennis a little bit differently," Sabalenka said after beating Maria Sakkari in the Madrid Open semifinal on Thursday.
Sabalenka through to the Madrid final
After making the Stuttgart final in her first clay tournament of the year, Sabalenka has also been through to the Madrid final.
On Thursday, Sabalenka dismantled world No 9 Sakkari 6-4 6-1 in the Madrid semifinal. Sabalenka started the match with an early break but Sakkari got the break back in the fifth game. However, blowing an early break didn't impact much Sabalenka, who broke Sakkari again in the 10th game - when the Greek was serving to stay in the first set.
After losing the first set in a pretty devastating way, Sakkari's game collapsed as Sabalenka broke the Greek twice to easily win the second set and complete a two-set win. "I think it was actually my best match of the tournament.
I started really well. Then Maria came back. But mentally I was staying really strong. I knew that she's going to fight for every point. It didn't, how to say, didn't destroy me that she came back. I was still playing, I was still fighting for every point.
Yeah, I'm super happy with the level that I played, and especially with my mental game, I would say. I'm more happy with my mental game," Sabalenka said after beating Sakkari.
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