Aryna Sabalenka she beat Magda Linette 7-6, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam final after three semifinal defeats. Sabalenka, the No.5 seed in Melbourne, edged out the surprise semifinalist in one hour and 33 minutes.

The Belarusian has had disappointments at Wimbledon in 2021 and at the US Open in 2021 and 2022, but she’s done now, ending the match with a powerful forehand that underscored her power and composure.

Sabalenka will face reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who defeated the resurgent Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-3 in less than two hours.

Sabalenka hit six aces and served two double faults while producing 33 winners. Subsequently, Sabalenka said in the post-match interview: “I am very happy that I was able to get this victory. She is an incredible player; she played some great tennis.”

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The 24-year-old didn’t start very well and went 0-2 down when Linette started brighter. “I would say I didn’t start very well. In the tiebreaker, I find my rhythm, I start to trust myself, I start looking for the shots”.

She is now one match away from her first Grand Slam title, and Rybakina will present a formidable obstacle. “There is still one more game to go. Just happy to have taken this next step. I know I have to work for that title.”

The final is scheduled for Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

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