Tennis | Indian Wells 2023 | Elena Rybakina looks for Australian Open revenge against Aryna Sabalenka in final showdown

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Aryna Sabalenka [2] v Elena Rybakina [10]
  • H2H: Sabalenka leads 4-0
INDIAN WELLS, USA – Elena Rybakina is looking for Australian Open revenge on Aryna Sabalenka when the two collide for the Indian Wells title.


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Aryna Sabalenka [2] v Elena Rybakina [10] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Aryna Sabalenka has continued her confident form in Indian Wells as she is playing like a Grand Slam champion with her latest win over Maria Sakkari showing why nobody wants to play her right now. Now Sabalenka looks to capture her second big title in the space of two months as she establishes consistency and stability at the top of the women’s game. Standing in Sabalenka’s way is Elena Rybakina who thrashed world number one Iga Swiatek to reach the final and continue to show why she’s arguably the most underrated player on the WTA tour.

Aryna Sabalenka [2] v Elena Rybakina [10] H2H: Sabalenka leads 4-0
Indian Wells 2023 Indian Wells, USA
Hard (O) Prize Money: $662,360/$1,262,220
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Both players have secured wins over impressive opposition with both players dropping just one set on their way to the final.


Aryna Sabalenka [2] route to the final

Embed from Getty Images
  • R2: Evgeniya Rodina [PR] 6-2 6-0
  • R3: Lesia Tsurenko [Q] W/O
  • R4: Barbora Krejcikova [16] 6-3 2-6 6-4
  • QF: Coco Gauff [6] 6-4 6-0
  • SF: Maria Sakkari [7] 6-2 6-3


Elena Rybakina [10] route to the final

Embed from Getty Images
  • R2: Sofia Kenin [WC] 7-6(6) 7-5
  • R3: Paula Badosa [21] 6-3 7-5
  • R4: Varvara Gracheva [Q] 6-3 6-0
  • QF: Karolina Muchova 7-6(4) 2-6 6-4
  • SF: Iga Swiatek [1] 6-2 6-2


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)

H2H: Aryna Sabalenka (WR 2) Elena Rybakina (WR 10)
Tournament Previous Best R4 (2019) QF (2022)
1st Serve Return Points Won % 37.3 34.4
Return Points Won % 46.5 41.8
Break Point Conversion % 44.5 41.7
Break Point Saved % 71.8 65.4
Total Points Won % 55.7 53.3

Sabalenka has proven to be the more clinical player this season as she looks for a fifth consecutive victory over Rybakina.



Playing Styles and Prediction

After struggling with consistency for so long, Sabalenka is now playing like a Grand Slam champion having finally conquered her life-long dream in Melbourne in January. Now Sabalenka looks to establish herself as a dominant form in women’s tennis as she looks to win a second big title in the space of two months.

Speaking after her semi-final win Sabalenka admitted that winning when not performing well has been the key to her new-found confidence.

“I’m just super happy with another final and super happy with the win against Maria. She’s such a great fighter, and it’s always tough matches against her,” Sabalenka told the WTA website.

“I feel really good on court right now, but I also have understanding that it’s not going to be the same all the time. So that’s why I keep working hard, make sure in those days when things are not working my way, I still will be able to compete and to get these wins.”

Standing in Sabalenka’s way is Rybakina who is looking for revenge in California having narrowly lost out on the Australian Open title to the Belarusian. Despite this, Rybakina has established herself as a consistent threat to the world’s top players as she looks to continue to prove why she is a top ten player.

After her semi-final win over Swiatek, Rybakina admitted she had nothing to lose and admits the serve under pressure is the key to beating the top players.

“Because today some moments I played, I would say, on my highest level — [these are] moments where you can feel, OK, I can beat anyone if I always play like this,” Rybakina told the WTA website.

“But it’s the goal, you never feel amazing and perfect every match. I think today it was just really good from me. I think [the key will be] just to play better in these important moments and hold the serve, because I think a few times it was just because of one break.

“It’s gonna be not an easy match, and it’s gonna be in these clutch moments I just need to play better. Hopefully now it’s gonna change the score between us. I would say I didn’t expect that I was going to play that good today. Yesterday was a really tough match.

“I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to come and enjoy and it really went my way. I played really one of the best matches this year. I was really pleased with the game and hopefully, I’m going to play like this on Sunday.”

Sabalenka will look to step forwards on a consistent basis and on short balls come to the net to finish points off quickly. Rybakina will look to get her forehand into the match as much as possible as she looks to use the angles to open up the court.

As proved in Australia, the serve will be a decisive factor in who wins the contest and how both players deal with the pressure. Sabalenka’s recent efficiency under pressure makes her slight favourite in what should be another dramatic match between these two players.

Prediction: Sabalenka in three sets.



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