It'll be Sabalenka vs. Rybakina, part eight in the Brisbane International final. The No.1 and No.2 seeds will renew their rivalry after delivering performances of impressive authority in the semifinals.

Sabalenka ousted two-time champion and No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-4 in a meeting of former World No.1s; earlier, Rybakina had dispatched unseeded 19-year-old Linda Noskova 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes. The final will be a rematch of last year's Australian Open championship bout, won by Sabalenka 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Rybakina's first serve was on song against No.40-ranked Noskova. The Kazakh landed 76% of her first deliveries and won 80% of those points, while fending off all four break points she faced. Rybakina fired 22 winners, including eight aces, to Noskova's 14, while keeping her unforced error count down to 10 compared to the teenager's 17. The result was Rybakina's second win in as many meetings with Noskova, having also defeated the Czech player 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of Roland Garros last year.

The 2021 Wimbledon champion advanced to her 15th career final, 10th on outdoor hard courts, fourth in Australia and first since her title run in Rome last May. 

Sabalenka withstood a gritty challenge from Azarenka over the course of 1 hour and 27 minutes, and was ultimately able to find her best tennis on the most important points. The defending Australian Open champion was imperious in the first set, in which she slammed 18 winners -- including four aces -- to only six unforced errors. In a series of high-octane baseline rallies, Sabalenka was invariably able to find the winning shot first.

The 25-year-old also came up with a moment of real brilliance to capture her first break for 3-1, racing across the court to find a no-look, full-stretch forehand pass off an Azarenka volley that had been spinning away from her. A stunned Azarenka was only able to put her half-volley response into the net.

After saving three break points in her first two service games of the second set, Azarenka managed to keep the scoreboard tighter thereafter. However, Sabalenka came up with unanswerable one-two punches to save three break points against her in her final two service games, and sealed victory on return as Azarenka found the net with a backhand.

Despite Azarenka's watertight stats -- 16 winners to only six unforced errors -- Sabalenka managed to maintain a similar ratio with greater levels of aggression, tallying 34 winners to 13 unforced errors. Sabalenka advanced to her 25th career final, and first since her US Open loss to Coco Gauff last September.

Sabalenka vs. Rybakina VIII

This year marks a decade since Sabalenka and Rybakina first faced each other -- a 6-3, 7-6(4) win for Sabalenka in a junior clay-court event in Budapest. Since then, they've gone on to play seven times at pro level, most notably in last year's Australian Open final.

Sabalenka leads the overall pro head-to-head 5-2, but here's how it breaks down further.

  • All but one of their matches have been played on outdoor hard courts. The exception was their 2021 Wimbledon fourth-round tie, won by Sabalenka 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
  • Sabalenka won their first four pro meetings, all in three sets. However, Rybakina began to make an impact on the head-to-head last year, when they split four encounters with two wins apiece.
  • All five of Sabalenka's wins have come over three sets. In four of those cases -- Wuhan 2019, Abu Dhabi 2021, Wimbledon 2021 and the WTA Finals Cancun 2023 -- she dropped the middle set. Last year's Australian Open final marks the only time Sabalenka has defeated Rybakina from a set down.
  • Both of Rybakina's wins -- at Indian Wells and Beijing last year -- have come in straight sets. Both followed a pattern of a tight first set, followed by pulling away in the second.
  • They have split two previous meetings in finals. Sabalenka claimed her first Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne last year, but Rybakina took the Indian Wells final 7-6(11), 6-4.
  • Sabalenka will be seeking to extend a positive 13-11 record in tour-level finals in her career so far. Conversely, Rybakina will be bidding to improve her negative 5-9 record in finals.

Sabalenka on her rivalry with Rybakina: "Let's just say it's going to be great battle as always. Always great matches against Elena. 

"I think we both serving really well. We both playing really super aggressive tennis. I think that's why all the matches are pretty tight. We both put each other under so much pressure. I think that's why it makes our matches really, really great battles."

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aryna sabalenka
More Head to Head
66.7% Win 6
- Matches Played
33.3% Win 3
elena rybakina