Aryna Sabalenka warns she will be ‘different’ in US Open final

Aryna Sabalenka US Open Credit: Alamy
Aryna Sabalenka US Open Credit: Alamy

Aryna Sabalenka has warned she will be “different” in the 2023 US Open final in comparison to her Australian Open title match in January.

The Belarusian believes the experience of dealing with the emotions she felt in her maiden major final will help her in Saturday’s New York showpiece.

Sabalenka, who will become world No 1 for the first time following the event, will face 19-year-old American Coco Gauff in the Flushing Meadows championship match. She came back from 0-6, 3-5 down to edge a semi-final thriller against Madison Keys, while Gauff saw off Karolina Muchova.

The 25-year-old won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January as she recovered from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in the final. She has also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon in a stellar 2023 campaign.

Speaking following her victory over Keys, Sabalenka explained how she feels her Melbourne triumph will benefit her in her second major singles final.

“I think Australian Open final will definitely help me with all those emotions I went through in that final. I’ll be different in this final,” declared the Belarusian in her post-match press conference.

“But definitely that final gonna help me, because I know which kind of, like, emotions expect. I know how to handle them. So I think that final gonna help me, like, emotionally gonna help me.”

Sabalenka also revealed she does not place much stock in her previous match with Gauff in Indian Wells, given the world No 6’s fine recent form.

“I mean, honestly I would say that she played much better [recently] than in that match, when was that, Indian Wells? She improved a lot. So it’s a different player. We don’t like really thinking about that match,” said the 25-year-old.

“Going into this final, I think I just have to focus on myself and prepare myself for another fight. No matter what, just keep fighting and keep playing my best and do my best. You know, like, there is nothing much you can, what else can you do? You just have to be there and you have to fight for it.

“I mean, she’s moving really well. She’s hungry. She kind of like have nothing to lose. She knows that crowd going to support her. I think that’s what makes her really difficult opponent. Also serving really well.”

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