Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka meet in the Australian Open semi-final on Thursday morning (8:30am, UK time).
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Where to watch Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka on TV:
- UK: Eurosport
- US: ESPN+
Last time out in the quarter-finals Elena Rybakina faced a third successive top-20 opponent before recording a 6-2 6-4 victory against one-time French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. That success marked Rybakina’s first-ever win over Ostapenko in three career meetings. Rybakina posted no fewer than 11 aces which moved her to 35 for the campaign which is more than anyone in the women’s singles tournament. Rybakina, who is the youngest player left aged 23, previously went deep in a Slam at Wimbledon last year. She knocked off former champion Simona Halep in the semifinals before defeating Ons Jabeur in the final to become the first Kazakh major winner.
Before this year’s Aussie Open quarter-final, Victoria Azarenka hadn’t beaten a top-three player since March 2016 and not at a major in more than a decade. Third seed Jessica Pegula was subsequently bounced out by Azarenka 6-4 6-1 in 97 minutes. This success marked her joint-biggest career win in terms of ranking at a major slam, equalling her victory over Maria Sharapova at the 2012 US Open. It was also her 47th career Aussie Open win a milestone that surpasses Martina Navratilova and equals Steffi Graf for the sixth place in the tournament’s all-time match win list. Azarenka has in the past made eight Grand Slam appearances (5-3) albeit seven of which came in or before the 2013 season.
Down Under, she has won both of her previous such appearances before going on to lift the Daphne Akhurst Cup in 2012 and 2013. In fact, Azarenka is the last player to successfully defend her crown and in fact the only non-American to do so in the 21st century. In their head-to-head meetings, Elena Rybakina leads 1-0. This latest showdown will be the second time in less than a year, the pair face off in a hardcourt tournament in which Azarenka is a two-time champion. That last outing came at Indian Wells (third round) in March 2022; the Kazakh was victorious 6-3 6-4 thus denying the Belarusian from reaching successive finals.