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Ricky’s pick for the Australian Open women’s singles final: Sabalenka vs. Rybakina

Two of the biggest hitters on tour will be going head-to-head when Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina battle for the Australian Open title on Saturday night.

Sabalenka is still in search for her first Grand Slam title; in fact, she will be playing in a slam final for the first time. The 24-year-old Belarusian had previously been 0-3 lifetime in major semifinals, but she defeated Magda Linette 7-6(1), 6-2 on Thursday. That result was preceded by five other straight-set victories–over Tereza Martincova, Shelby Rogers, Elise Mertens, Belinda Bencic, and Donna Vekic.

Rybakina’s run has been incredible in terms of competition level. After beating Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Kaja Juvan, the 23-year-old Kazakh took out Danielle Collins, Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko, and Victoria Azarenka. That list includes the 2022 Aussie Open runner-up (Collins) and three major champions.

Sabalenka leads the official head-to-head series 3-0, but all three previous encounters went to a third set and Rybakina at least managed to score a victory over the current world No. 5 at the World Tennis League team competition this past fall.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.