Elena Rybakina and Anna Blinkova officiated Thursday's Australian Open match. In a battle of attrition, Rybakina, last year's losing runner-up, lost to Blinkova, who won the encounter after a brilliant third-set tiebreak. The 22-20 tiebreaker is the longest ever in women's singles.
Elena Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon winner, was floated as a favorite to win the Australian Open earlier this year following her convincing win at the WTA Championships in Brisbane.
There she easily defeated Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (WTA 2) in the final. In retaliation for the 2023 Australian Open final, in which Sabalenka beat Rybakina.
But in her second round on Thursday against Russian Anna Blinkova, things took a turn for the worse for Rybakina. After three closely fought sets, both players kept each other off balance, and the tie-break had to decide whether to win or lose.
What followed was part of tennis history. Both players did not give in to each other and made it an absolute battle of attrition. Only at 21-20 and in the sixteenth game was there a winner: Blinkova screamed with joy.
The 22-20 tiebreaker is one for the history books. It is the longest tiebreak ever in a women's Grand Slam and the longest tiebreak ever in women's singles.
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