Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka targets all-Belarusian final with Victoria Azarenka

Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka targets all-Belarusian final with Victoria Azarenka

Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka targets all-Belarusian final with Victoria Azarenka - BBC Sport

Australian Open 2023
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 16-29 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website & app

Aryna Sabalenka says she “really wants” to create history by setting up an all-Belarusian contest against Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open final.

Two-time winner Azarenka plays Kazakh Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first semi-final on Thursday.

Fifth seed Sabalenka then faces Poland’s Magda Linette in the second.

However, two Belarusians competing for a Grand Slam title would likely lead to more discussion about a divisive political issue in sport.

Belarusian athletes are banned by a number of sporting governing bodies because of the country’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sabalenka has previously said “no-one supports war”, adding she was “really disappointed” politics had interfered with sport after Russian and Belarusian players were banned from Wimbledon last year.

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Speaking about the prospect of facing Azarenka in the Melbourne final, Sabalenka said: “It would be history and be unbelievable.

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