Elena Rybakina rues missed chances in Australian Open final defeat

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina felt that she lacked killer instinct in her Australian Open final defeat to Aryna Sabalenka.

Rybakina claimed the first set in the contest but had no answer to Aryna Sabalenka finding another gear in the second set.

Until Saturday, nobody had been able to live with Rybakina, not even World No 1 Iga Swiatek.

However, a stunned Rybakina had to admit that Sabalenka kept her under constant pressure.

“I would say that not many girls can put me really under the pressure,” Rybakina told reporters.

“Against her, it’s not easy because she has a great serve and she plays really aggressive. Her ball is coming very heavy. There is maybe few girls who plays like this.

“Today I had some opportunities. Didn’t take.”

Sabalenka and Rybakina put on an enthralling display of crisp shotmaking and the Kazakh No 1 hopes they get to rerun this match on the big stage again.

“I know how hard you’ve worked for that,” Rybakina said, congratulating Sabalenka.

“Hopefully we’re going to have many more battles.”

Rybakina felt that she failed to match Sabalenka’s intensity after taking the first set.

“I think Aryna raise her level in the second set,” Rybakina said. “She played really well, aggressive, a bit less mistakes. I should have been also more aggressive in some moments. She was strong mentally, physically.”

Rybakina will break into the top ten on Monday, but doesn’t expect to feel any different about herself or her game.

She did concede that an improved ranking has other benefits which she will take as they come.

“I don’t think that tomorrow I’m going to feel different just because of the ranking now.

“But I mean for sure is going to be different at the smaller tournaments.

“I will say I’m going to be seeded and maybe in some tournaments I’m not gonna play first round so I mean of course there is some benefits out of this but for sure, I don’t really look for the for the numbers and ranking so much.”

Rybakina has revealed that her goal is to reach the second week of all four Grand Slams in 2023.

“That’s the goal to be in the second week of all the Grand Slams and to play finals.

“I mean, now I have more confidence of course after even this final.

“I just need to work hard, same as I did during preseason and actually throughout the years and be healthy and for sure the results are gonna come.”

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