Aryna Sabalenka came from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in the final of the Australian Open and win her first grand slam title at Rod Laver Arena.
The Belarusian athlete won the hard-hitting contest 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to continue her unbeaten 2023 season with her 11th win on the trot.
In a see-sawing opening set, it was the Wimbledon champion who secured the crucial break of serve to take a 3-1 lead before Sabalenka fought back to tie the contest 4-4.
But Rybakina hit back immediately to grab another break as Sabalenka double-faulted for a fifth time, before going on to seal the set with a big serve the Belarusian returned into the net.
It was the first time that Sabalenka had dropped a set in 11 matches this year.
Her nerves were on display in the opening game of the second stanza before the 24-year-old composed herself and saved two breakpoints to kickstart her comeback. The Belarusian then found the crucial break before grabbing a 4-1 lead eventually taking the match into a deciding third set.
Every aspect of Sabalenka’s game was then on display in the decider as she muscled her way to a 5-3 lead before double-faulting on match-point. However, once again she showed improvement in her mental game to serve out the game for the win.
The Australian Open crown will also see Aryna Sabalenka jump to no2 on the world rankings behind Iga Swiatek.
With flags of Russian and Belarusian players banned from tennis events, Sabalenka is also the first neutral athlete to win a tennis grand slam.