Elena Rybakina stormed to her first Australian Open final with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, wearing the twice champion down in a cagey first set before dominating to close out the match.
Wimbledon champion Rybakina will next meet the winner of the match between fifth-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Pole Magda Linette, who play in the second semi-final of the night session at Rod Laver Arena.
In a match of wild momentum swings, Rybakina held her nerve when it counted, staying strong as 24th-seeded Belarusian Azarenka foundered in a messy first set tiebreak then dropped serve twice to fall 5-2 behind in the second set.
The 22nd-seeded Rybakina was broken as she served for the set but Azarenka double-faulted to give up three match points in the next game, allowing the Kazakh to close out an emphatic win. (