Sports, Tennis

Rybakina thrash Sabalenka to claim Brisbane title

Published : 07 Jan 2024 09:13 PM

Elena Rybakina will head to the Australian Open full of confidence after demolishing world number two Aryna Sabalenka in the Brisbane International final on Sunday.

The Russian-born Kazakh won the first eight games in a row on her way to a 6-0, 6-3 win in just 73 minutes over the Australian Open champion in a repeat of the 2023 Melbourne Park final.

It was the world number four's sixth WTA title and comes a week before the first Grand Slam of the year.

"Despite the score it's always tough to play against Aryna," Rybakina said.

"We always push each other, which is great, and we improve this way so hopefully we can continue."

The 2022 Wimbledon winner was in irresistible form all week, spending only three hours and 40 minutes on court in her four matches.

The final was expected to be a different challenge -- the two players had met seven times previously with all but two of those matches going to three tough sets, including last year's Australian Open final.

But Rybakina soon put those expectations to bed with a blistering start, racing through the first set in 24 minutes, only dropping three points on serve.

She outshone the Belarusian in all aspects, serving beautifully and hitting her groundstrokes with power and depth.

Sabalenka also had an impressive run to the final, but she appeared out of sorts and made a host of unforced errors.

She finally got on the board when she surprisingly broke Rybakina's serve at 0-2 in the second set, but dropped her next serve and there was no way back.

Sabalenka saw the humorous side during the presentations, laughingly blaming her own team for the loss.

"Congratulations to my team," she said. "6-0, 6-3. That's all your fault guys.