Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka targets all-Belarusian final with Victoria Azarenka
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.
Speaking about the prospect of facing Azarenka in the Melbourne final, Sabalenka said: “It would be history and be unbelievable.