Elena Rybakina stormed into her first Australian Open final with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Victoria Azarenka in Melbourne on Thursday.
Wimbledon champion Rybakina will next meet the winner of the match between fifth-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Pole Magda Linette.
In a match that swung wildly, Rybakina held her nerve when it counted as 24th-seeded Belarusian Azarenka stumbled in a messy first set tiebreak then dropped serve twice to fall 5-2 behind in the second set.
Rybakina added to what already was an impressive run through a string of top opponents. Azarenka, the champion at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013, joined a list of players eliminated by Rybakina over the past two weeks that includes No 1 Iga Swiatek and No 17 Jelena Ostapenko — both winners of major titles — and 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins.
Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates was among those in attendance at Melbourne Park on Thursday.