Rybakina emerges victoriously against Sabalenka to claim Brisbane championship while Dimitrov breaks his long wait for a trophy.

Elena Rybakina dominated the defending Australian Open champion, Aryna Sabalenka, winning 6-0, 6-3 to claim the Brisbane International title. The Kazakh player, ranked fourth in the world, achieved this victory in less than five hours of play, securing five impressive wins in Queensland. On the men’s side, Grigor Dimitrov won his first ATP Tour title since 2017 by defeating Holger Rune in straight sets.

Rybakina’s complete dominance was evident in this one-sided final, where she reversed the result of last year’s closely contested three-set match at Melbourne Park. In the season-opening tournament, she faced no trouble, clocking in at only four hours and 52 minutes under the bright lights. As the 2022 Wimbledon champion, she quickly took a 5-0 lead against Sabalenka in just 18 minutes, despite Sabalenka’s strong performance throughout the tournament. Both players will be favorites in Melbourne next week, but Rybakina’s stock has risen as she pursues her second major title.

‘I’d like to congratulate Aryna for a great week and an impressive season last year,’ Rybakina said. ‘I hope we meet again in Melbourne. Despite the score, it’s always tough playing against you, and we always push each other.’

Sabalenka, the world No. 2 from Belarus, who now leads their head-to-head 5-3, could only laugh as Rybakina stormed ahead. She celebrated winning a point in the first game of the second set, kissed her hand, and saluted the sky when she finally won a game in the second set.

‘I don’t know where to start… that was an interesting match,’ Sabalenka laughed during the post-match interview. ‘Great job, thank you for those three games to at least make it look like a fight. A few words for my team: you did a bad job today – 6-0, 6-3, that’s all on you guys. It is how it is. We showed some great tennis, and hopefully, we’ll do better at the Australian Open. I just wanted you [the crowd] to save your energy for the men’s final.’

In the men’s final, Dimitrov defeated the Danish top seed, Rune, in a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory that lasted just over two and a quarter hours. This win marked Dimitrov’s ninth career title and his first since the ATP Finals in 2017, the same year he also won the Brisbane International. As the second seed, Dimitrov expressed his emotions, saying, ‘It’s been a while since I held one of these. It’s a bit emotional. It’s a great start to the year, and we have a lot to build on. Hopefully, we can go one step further at the Australian Open.’

Meanwhile, at the ASB Classic in Auckland, Coco Gauff, the top seed, successfully defended her title, defeating Elina Svitolina in a thrilling 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 victory. This win marks Gauff’s seventh championship overall.

In other news, Germany fought back from the brink of defeat to win the United Cup in Sydney, defeating Poland. Alexander Zverev saved two championship points in his second-set tie-break against Hubert Hurkacz before emerging victorious with a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 6-4 win. In the subsequent doubles decider, Zverev and Laura Siegemund triumphed over Hurkacz and Iga Swiatek with a score of 6-4, 5-7, 10-4. Swiatek, a four-time grand slam champion, had earlier beaten Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-0.

During the trophy presentation, Zverev expressed his joy, saying, ‘It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s been a pleasure and so much fun for everyone to be part of this team, especially for me. I really thank you guys for being part of this. I couldn’t be happier sharing this trophy with anyone other than you guys. Congratulations to Team Poland for an amazing run. It was a matter of millimeters today for you guys to be the champions.’

In the Hong Kong Open final, top seed Andrey Rublev clinched his 15th tour-level title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Emil Ruusuvuori.

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