World number four Elena Rybakina put on a serving masterclass as she stormed into the Brisbane International women’s final Saturday, while top seed Holger Rune battled through to the men’s decider. Russian-born Kazakh Rybakina blasted eight aces past Czech teenager Linda Noskova on her way to a 6-3, 6-2 win, breaking her opponent once in the first set and twice in the second. Rybakina, who won Wimbledon in 2022, has only lost 12 games on the way to the final and is yet to drop serve in a perfect build up to the Australian Open, where was runner-up last year to Aryna Sabalenka.
“I didn’t expect I would play that well this week,” said the second seed, adding that she had been sick before arriving in Brisbane. “It’s an amazing start to the year for me.”
She made 75 percent of her first serves against Noskova, hitting 26 winners and making only 10 unforced errors to reach her 15th final on the WTA Tour.
She will play the winner of an all-Belarusian clash between top seed Sabalenka and former world number one Victoria Azarenka.
Rybakina has beaten Azarenka in both their previous encounters but has lost to Sabalenka in five of their seven meetings.
All but two of Rybakina’s matches against Sabalenka went to three sets, including the Australian Open final a year ago.
Denmark’s Rune progressed with a tough 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) win over unseeded Roman Safiullin.
The world number eight was able to absorb the big-hitting of the Russian, who hit 27 clean winners but also made 28 unforced errors.
After Rune won the first set thanks to breaking Safiullin’s opening service game, the Russian had the better of the second set, but collapsed in the tiebreak.
In Sunday’s final, Rune will meet either Bulgarian second seed Grigor Dimitrov or Australia’s Jordan Thompson, who beat Rafael Nadal in an epic quarter-final on Friday night.
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