In what will be a repeat of the Australian Open final from earlier this year, world number two Aryna Sabalenka faces the Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the final of the 2023 WTA Indian Wells Open on Saturday, March 18. Get the live streaming options of this Aryna Sabalenka v Elena Rybakina match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Four previous meetings between these two players have all resulted in a win for Sabalenka. This includes the 2023 Australian Open final where Sabalenka came back from a set down to clinch her first major title.
The other three meetings include the 2019 Wuhan Open, 2021 Abu Dhabi Open and 2021 Wimbledon.
It was a case of Rybakina doing to the world number one Iga Swiatek what Swiatek had been doing to others.
In match that lasted a tick over an hour and quarter, Rybakina routed Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 to reach the her second tournament final of the season. What was stunning to see was Rybakina had five break-point chances and she used every single one of them to get past the world number one.
She was up an early break, taking a 3-0 lead before closing the first set with a break of serve at 5-2. Two more breaks of serve followed in the second set, getting Rybakina a 5-0 lead.
And while the Kazakh failed to serve it out at 5-1 despite earning two match-points she broke her opponent for the third time in the set to pocket the match.
This shock win follows Rybakina’s victories over Sofia Kenin, Paula Badosa, Varvara Gracheva and Karolina Muchova in her first four matches at this tournament. What’s interesting to note is that other than that Australian Open final, Rybakina hadn’t had any deep runs before this.
She had been sent packing in the second and first rounds of the two tournaments in Adelaide and then again won and lost one match at the Abu Dhabi Open.
And in Dubai where she defeated Bianca Andreescu and Marie Bouzova, Rybakina had to withdraw before her quarterfinal match against Cori Gauff because of a lower back issue.
For Rybakina to put up a display, therefore, makes it an even more special performance.
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Continuing with her impressive run, Sabalenka did not have a lot of trouble getting past the previous year’s finalist, Maria Sakkari to seal her place in the final of the tournament.
Sabalenka won 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 25 minutes against her Greek opponent to make it 17-1 for the season.
Having demolished Cori Gauff in straight sets in the quarterfinal, Sabalenka traded breaks with Sakkari in the fourth and fifth game of the opening set. The world number two, however, then raced away with a couple more breaks to grab the set.
In the second, Sabalenka took the early lead again before Sakkari levelled things off at 2-2. Sabalenka broke for the second time in the sixth game and this time around there was no way back for her opponent who won just three more points on the Belarusian’s serve.
Sabalenka, who had never gone beyond the fourth round at the Indian Wells Open before this, will be gunning for her third title of the season following her wins at the Adelaide International and Australian Open.
Sabalenka has a stronghold over Rybakina and with the world number two having gone from strength to strength this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her make it five wins in a row against the Wimbledon champion.
The 2023 WTA Indian Wells Open will be played from March 8 to 20. You can get all the tennis betting news with our tennis betting blog here. Also get rest of the tennis match previews here.
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