Indian Wells: Elena Rybakina avenges Australian Open final loss with straight-sets win over Alina Sabalenka

Wimbledon champion Jelena Rybakina defeated a misfired Alina Sabalenka in straight sets to win the Indian Wells women’s title, avenging her loss to Belarus in the Australian Open final.

In her first WTA 1000 final appearance, Ryvakina came back from a breakdown to win a close first set as second seed Sabalenka committed 10 double faults. She won 7-6 (13-11) 6-4.

Ryvakina, who beat defending champion and world No. 1 Iga Sfiertek to reach the final, dropped serve when Sabalenka landed a forehand lob just inside the baseline for a 3-2 lead. A normal hold then gave Belarus control.

However, Rybakina refused to back down and immediately tried to stabilize the ship, but Sabalenka returned the break with an untimely double fault and the two continued to serve to tie the score at 4-4. , forced a tie-break.

Despite her struggles, Sabalenka had chances in the opening round, but wasted three set points and set aside five before finally landing a long forehand to give control to Ryvakina. It was sent.

Ryvakina took the lead in the second set with a break and Sabalenka eventually settled in the game, but Ryvakina sensed an opportunity and quickly signed on her first championship point when her opponent sent her serve return to the net. tied.

It was the first time Ryvakina had beaten Sabalenka in her five previous meetings, and the first time she didn’t go to three sets in her nascent rivalry.

Ryvakina improved her match record to 16-4 this year, but it was the second loss of the year for world No. 2 Sabalenka.

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