Aryna Sabalenka - Australian Open 2024

Aryna Sabalenka attributes win to Madrid crowd after setting up Iga Swiatek replay

Aryna Sabalenka came back from the brink to set up a repeat of last year’s Madrid Open final against Iga Swiatek. 

The Belarusian triumphed in a match of the season contender against Elena Rybakina, advancing to her third final in the Spanish capital after winning 1-6 7-5 7-6.

Sabalenka will face off against world No.1 Swiatek in what is destined to be an enthralling repeat of the 2023 final.

“It’s definitely going to be a great battle,” said the 25-year-old. “We’re always fighting as hard as we can, always incredible matches.

“I’m really looking forward to this final. I’m gonna do everything I can to get this win.”

Sabalenka got the better of her Polish counterpart in last year’s final, eventually winning 6-3 3-6 6-3 in what was widely regarded as the best WTA match of 2023.

Swiatek has looked largely untroubled so far this week, whereas Sabalenka has been taken to three sets in four of her five contests.

Aryna Sabalenka shows gratitude to crowd for motivation

World No.4 Rybakina had the chance to serve for a spot in Saturday’s final but missed the opportunity to capitalise.

Sabalenka’s aggression was too much for the Kazakh, ultimately snapping her 16-match win streak and increasing the head-to-head lead to 6-3.

In her post-match speach on Manolo Santana, Sabalenka thanked the crowd for pulling her through the tough battle.

“Today, honestly, if not for the people, I probably would’ve left this court losing 6-1 6-1 and be very sad,” said the two-time major champion,

“Because I felt all the support and I heard someone screaming ‘We want to see you on Saturday’, it really motivated me in that moment. I was like I have to fight. I have to try my best. If not, then not. If yes, then I’ll be the happiest person.”

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.