Australian Open women's final to be played amid tense political backdrop – Daily Mail

By Mike Dickson for MailOnline


A Russian-born player will face one from Belarus in the final of an Australian Open that has become increasingly caught up in wider geopolitical issues.
Elena Rybakina – who has based herself in, and represented, Kazakhstan as an adult – is the latest player who will have to counter the high volume power of Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka to repeat her relatively low-key success of last summer.
Due to Wimbledon‘s pointless status Rybakina will be the lower ranked player at 25, but she again showed she is far better than that in beating another from Belarus, Victoria Azarenka, 7-6 6-3.
The Australian Open women’s final will be played amid a tense political backdrop in Melbourne
Belarusian star Aryna Sabalenka defeated Magda Linette of Poland to make the final 
Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina – who was born in Russia – will compete for the grand slam title
There have been tensions in Melbourne with some fans showing their support for Russia’s war on Ukraine
Former world number one Azarenka was the third Grand Slam winner in succession that she has overcome, watched by her sister and her parents, with the latter two unable to make it to SW19 last summer.
‘She came to Doha last year and then the second time she came at Wimbledon and I won,’ she said. ‘This time she’s here with my parents, mom and dad, it’s first time they’re all together and I’m super happy that we can spend evenings together.’ Sabalenka, who delivers her meaty groundstrokes with a screech, has been tipped to win a Major for several years, but has suffered from nerves in her previous three semi-finals and lost them all.
She made no mistake against Poland’s Magda Linette once she had stormed through the tiebreak 7-1 and finished it off 7-6 6-2. She has now played twenty sets this year and won all of them.
With the Australian Open allowing allcomers, the winner on Saturday will be rewarded with a full quota of ranking points.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group


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