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Going into Saturday's Brisbane semi-finals, the no.1 and no.2 seeds in both the men’s and women’s draw remained. 

Despite some tricky opponents, all four of them prevailed in straight sets to set up ideal Sunday final show-downs.

Women’s semi-finals

In the ‘Battle of Belarus', current world no.2 Aryna Sabalenka took on compatriot Victoria Azarenka. 

The clash gave us what we expected with powerful hitting from both players and some even higher decibels that may have been heard back in Minsk. 

After an almost flawless first set from Aryna, Victoria made a contest of it in the second before going down 6-2 6-4. 

Sabalenka will play Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan in a repeat of last year’s Australian Open final. 

Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon Champion, has quietly made her way through the draw but has been dominant in each match. 

Today she faced 19-year-old Linda Noskova from the Czech Republic.

Despite some glimpses of the form that took her to the semis, Noskova couldn’t match the Kazakh going down 6-3 6-2.  

Elena has lost just 12 games in the seven sets and looks in fine form going into the final.

The head-to-head favours Sabalenka 5-2 but the pair were evenly split 2-2 in 2023. 

Men’s semi-finals

The semi-final with the most focus was Jordan Thompson’s battle with second seed Grigor Dimitrov. 

Thompson was playing after a late-night epic win against Rafael Nadal and unfortunately for the Aussie, backing up proved to be too difficult. 

Grigor won the encounter in straight sets 6-3 7-5. 

Despite the loss, it’s been a great week for Thompson who will move back into the world’s top 50 and will be just a few spots off his career high of no.43.

For Dimitrov, this is his second final in a row after finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the prestigious Paris Indoor to finish 2023. 

In the other semi-final, Holger Rune got through a competitive but comfortable affair against unseeded Roman Safiullin. 

Safiullin, who defeated Ben Shelton earlier in the week and scored a victory over Alcaraz in 2023, took the top seed to a tiebreak in the second set. 

However, the Dane prevailed convincingly by not dropping a single point in the breaker. The final result was a 6-4 7-6 victory.  

Safiullin’s good week will move him to a career-high ranking of 36 at the end of the tournament.  

The Brisbane final will be Holger’s first since Rome in May 2023 and his first ever on an outdoor hard court (even with the roof, the tournament is considered to be an outdoor one).  

In the head-to-head, Dimitrov and Rune share the spoils with a victory each. 

Importantly, Grigor won their only match on an outdoor hard court: a straight sets 6-3 7-5 win in Beijing last October. 

This, however, was at a time when Rune was struggling with form which he has since turned around. 

Dimitrov on the other hand has won three outdoor hardcourt titles in his career including the Brisbane International in 2017. 

That year was the last time he claimed a title though, so he’ll be hoping to end a six-year drought at 32-years-old. 


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