Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka uses her power play to dominate Magda Linette and reach her first Grand Slam final
Aryna Sabalenka is in her maiden Grand Slam final, with powerhouse Belarus booking a showdown at the Australian Open against Elena Rybakina.
The 24-year-old was in her fourth major semi-final on Thursday evening with a 7: 6 (7: 1) 6: 2 win against the unseeded Pole Magda Linette.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Aryna Sabalenka downplays ‘impressive’ forehand speed.
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Wimbledon champion Rybakina beat two-time Open winner Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the other semifinal, also reaching her first decider at Melbourne Park.
Sabalenka used her powerful forehand to dominate her opponent, with her average forehand speed of around 140 km/h matching that of some of the best men’s players on the circuit.
Italian tennis star Matteo Berrettini had a similar forehand speed at the 2022 Australian Open and has the fastest forehand in men’s tennis.
During her in-court interview following the impressive win, Casey Dellacqua said Sabalenka had a “super impressive” forehand.
The crowd erupted in cheers as Sabalenka laughed and kissed her bicep.
“I’m just wondering, does it feel as good as it looks?” Dellacqua asked Sabalenka.
“Well, to be honest, not really,” Sabalenka said.
“I actually think that I hit really slow balls today,” Sabalenka replied with a laugh.
“But I do not know. Thanks, I mean I have good genetics I guess.”
The win continued Sabalenka’s stunning start to the year, the world No. 5 losing a set in their 10-game winning streak that included a title in Adelaide.
She got off to a nervous start, giving up her opening serve to fall 2-0 down, but settled into the match and regrouped to win the next three games.
The tie-break was a one-way affair, with Sabalenka blasting winners from both sides from the back of the court as she stormed through to make it 7-1.
While veteran Linette worked hard, she lacked the firepower of her opponent, who took full control and hit 33 winners to just nine.
Sabalenka had three match points on serve for world No. 45 at 5-1, but Linette was able to fight back.
The stay of execution only lasted until the next game, when Sabalenka outplayed the match, with an unplayable forehand crowning the win.
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/tennis/aryna-sabalenka-uses-her-power-game-to-dominate-magda-linette-and-progress-to-her-first-grand-slam-final-c-9571226 Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka uses her power play to dominate Magda Linette and reach her first Grand Slam final