Aryna Sabalenka confesses how she really felt about Elena Rybakina 'crushing' her

Sabalenka won a total of three games in the Brisbane final against Rybakina.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Aryna Sabalenka confesses how she really felt about Elena Rybakina 'crushing' her
© Getty Images Sport - Bradley Kanaris

Aryna Sabalenka acknowledges Elena Rybakina "crushed" her in the Brisbane International final and admits she was just grateful to have won at least three games against the Kazakh. 

Sabalenka, who was the top-seeded player in Brisbane, pretty routinely made the final in her first tournament of the year with four convincing straight-set wins. Although Sabalenka entered the Brisbane final playing great and convincing tennis, she didn't stand a single chance against world No. 3 Rybakina, who crushed the Belarusian 6-0 6-3. 

After getting destroyed by Rybakina in Brisbane, defending Australian Open champion Sabalenka returned to the practice court with the intention of fixing the mistakes she made against the Kazakh.

"Elena just played incredible tennis. She just crushed it. I tried to do my best, and I'm just thankful for those three games," Sabalenka said in her pre-tournament press conference at Melbourne Park.

"Before the finals, I think I played really great tennis. After the finals was another week to work on those mistakes and just prepare myself as good as I can for Melbourne."

Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

Sabalenka, Rybakina weren't placed in the same part of the draw

Last year, 25-year-old Sabalenka became a Grand Slam champion after beating Rybakina in a high-quality final at Melbourne Park. 12 months ago, Sabalenka came back from a set down to beat Rybakina 4-6 6-3 6-4. 

This year, Sabalenka and Rybakina are again among the top favorites for the Australian Open. Sabalenka, seeded at No. 2, landed in the bottom half of the Australian Open draw, while third-seeded Rybakina is in the top half of the Australian Open draw. That means Sabalenka and Rybakina could potentially meet only in the final at Melbourne Park.

Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Mark Kolbe
 

Meanwhile, Sabalenka is set to kick off her Australian Open title defense by taking on qualifier world No. 172 Ella Seidel. When Sabalenka and 18-year-old Seidel meet, it will be the first time that they are clashing against each other. Going into the match, Sabalenka is undoubtedly the major favorite and everything but a routine Belarusian win would be a surprise.

Aryna Sabalenka Elena Rybakina
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