Aryna Sabalenka proves doubters wrong with emotional Grand Slam triumph

Aryna Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka has won over some of her doubters after a brilliant fightback to claim the Australian Open title.

Despite Sabalenka holding a 4-0 record against Rybakina, many esteemed her only as the underdog in the championship match on account of her lack of big-match experience.

The match itself delivered an exhibition of incredible power hitting that eclipses anything seen on the second Saturday of an Aussie Open.

Sabalenka came through in the clutch to become the Australian Open champion and World No 2 and extend her 2023 winning streak.

Former British No 1 Laura Robson ate humble pie admitting that Sabalenka had proved her wrong with her performance at Melbourne Park.

Robson was moved by the outpouring of emotion from Sabalenka.

“It was such a beautiful moment,” Robson said on Eurosport’s Australian Open coverage.

“The moment where she [Sabalenka] walked over, they [her team] hugged each other, and then afterwards, when he [Sabelenka’s coach] kind of soaked it all up and was crying in the towel – it was emotional. I think she was actually more nervous for the speech than she was serving the match out.

“It was just an unbelievable victory. Sitting here courtside, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how hard they were hitting it. Both of them were playing ridiculous tennis. Every doubt that I’ve had about Sabalenka – especially on the serve – she proved me wrong. It was insane.

“She was able to be so mentally strong, and I just think back to 12 months ago. How is this possible? How can she turn her whole mentality around so much, especially on the serve? It was so impressive.

“I’m just still struggling to understand how you can do so much work and apply it in such a difficult moment. We can do everything off the court, we can work with a psychologist – like she has been, but then get rid of him because she thought she didn’t need him anymore, and still to do what she just did over the last couple of hours – insane.”

Sabalenka had a steady if unspectacular 2022 marred by hugh error counts, but her start to this season now has pundits predicting she will win more slams.

“I think this is the beginning of her going on a tear,” ESPN analyst Mary Joe Fernandez said afterward on the US broadcast.

“She’s going to win more Grand Slams,” the pundit added.

READ MORE: Aryna Sabalenka goes from underarm serving and 428 double faults in 2022 to mentality monster in 2023