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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 19, 2023

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina powered past Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to claim the BNP Paribas Open title.

Photo Source: Getty

In a rematch of this year’s Australian Open, Elena Rybakina stepped up and got her revenge with a 7-6(11), 6-4 takedown of Aryna Sabalenka to claim her maiden BNP Paribas Open title and continue her ascent to the top of tennis.

Tennis Express

Rybakina is the first woman from Kazakhstan to ever win the title at Indian Wells.

She fought through a wild first-set tiebreak, converting her fifth set point and saving a pair of her own to take a one set lead in 78 minutes

Sabalenka held a 4-2 lead in the opener, but let it slip.

Then things got extremely wild. Sabalenka missed out on two set points in the tiebreak, and double-faulted three times as Sabalenka finally converted her fifth set point to win the 78-minute set

"I had a lot of opportunities in the first set and I didn't use it, which is totally fine," Sabalenka said. "I feel like it's small reminder that, no, you still have to work on so many things.

She was asked to elaborate and said the following:

"What I mean is that there will be some days when old habits will come back, you just have to work through it. Not every match will be going your way, and you will be serving perfectly. So it is just kind of reminder that that's okay to still be struggling with something.

That's okay to not play your best and keep fighting and keep using the rest of the weapons. Today I would say that I was super disappointed with my serve, so I was back to old habits. I was like a little bit overreacting on things, and I wasn't there in the first two games in the second set, so, this is what I mean."

The second set was less complicated as Rybakina moved up by a double-break and rolled to her first career win over Sabalenka in the pair’s fifth meeting.

The 23-year-old 2022 Wimbledon champ becomes the first woman to defeat the No.1 and No.2-ranked players in the world en route to the BNP Paribas Open title.


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