Aryna Sabalenka is a Belarusian professional tennis player and winner of the 2023 Australian Open Women’s singles title.
Name: Aryna Sabalenka
Born: May 5, 1998
Turned Pro: 2015
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Born in Minsk, Belarus on May 5th, 1998, Aryna Sabalenka began playing tennis as a child before training at the National Tennis Academy in her homeland's capital in 2014.
Making her debut on the ITF Women's Circuit in 2012, before Sabalenka had even played on the junior circuit, the Belarusian had to wait until 2014 for her first win at the professional level in Istanbul.
Sabalenka would pick up her first career title in Antalya in the October of 2015, backing it up with her second title the following week and a third in the final week of the year, finishing 2015 in the top 300 of the WTA rankings for the first time.
Winning on her Grand Slam debut at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Sabalenka defeated Irina Khromacheva in straight sets to advance to the second round before losing in three sets to German Carina Witthöft.
Sabalenka would finish 2017 by winning the first WTA 125 title of her career at the Mumbai Open, rising up to 73rd in the world rankings thanks to her straight-sets win over Dalila Jakupović in the final.
Her first WTA Tour title at the Premier-level would come in 2018 at the Connecticut Open with a win over Carla Suárez Navarro in the final. Soon after she would reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time thanks to wins over Danielle Collins, Vera Zvonareva and 5th seed Petra Kvitová before falling to a three-set defeat to eventual winner Naomi Osaka at the US Open.
Sabalenka was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year as a result of her impressive 2018 campaign, her first full year on the WTA Tour.
Losing to Amanda Anisimova at both the Australian Open and the French Open in 2019, Sabalenka would nevertheless rise up in the rankings to the Top 10 for the first time in her career.
The highlight of her 2019 however came in the US Open women’s doubles alongside Elise Mertens as the pair claimed the Grand Slam title with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over the duo of Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty in the final.
Sabalenka and Mertens would again taste Grand Slam success at the 2021 Australian Open with the Belarusian would top the women’s double world rankings for the first time.
At the 2021 Wimbledon, Sabalenka would reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time. Seeded second, wins over Monica Niculescu, Katie Boulter, Camila Osorio, Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur would be followed by a heartbreaking three-set defeat to Karolína Plíšková in the semi-finals.
Sabalenka would reach her second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open including a victory over her longtime doubles partner Elise Mertens in the last sixteen before another three-set semi-final loss, this time to Leylah Fernandez.
The Belarusian would again make the last four at the US Open in 2022, suffering a third straight three-set Grand Slam semi-final defeat, losing 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to the eventual champion Iga Swiatek.
She would then finish the year by reaching the final of the WTA Tour Finals. Sabalenka would achieve wins over each of the top three seeds, just the fourth woman to do so in a single tournament, before losing to Caroline Garcia.
The first Grand Slam title of Sabalenka’s career would come at the 2023 Australian Open. Seeded 5th, she would reach the final without dropping a single set against Tereza Martincová, Shelby Rogers, Elise Mertens, Belinda Bencic, Donna Vekić and Magda Linette. Despite trailing by a set in the final to Elena Rybakina, Sabalenka would not be denied, emerging victorious 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to claim the title.
Here are some of her results after her breakthrough in Melbourne:
Sabalenka has shown remarkable consistency and improvement throughout the year, reaching at least the quarterfinals in all four Grand Slams and six other tournaments. She has also clinched the No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career, becoming the second Belarusian woman to achieve this feat after Victoria Azarenka. She has won 50 matches and lost only 11 so far, earning more than $7 million in prize money. She is undoubtedly one of the best players of 2023 and a strong contender for more titles and honors.
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