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BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CROWNED



Sunday saw both the men’s and women’s champions of the Brisbane International decided. 


The return of the much-loved tournament had been a great success and concluded with both finals featuring their respective top seeds. In the men’s final Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov defeated young Dane Holger Rune 7-6 6-4.


While in the much-anticipated women’s final Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina took care of Aryna Sabalenka in comfortable fashion 6-0 6-3. 


It was a case of age versus experience in the battle between Rune and Dimitrov. 20-year-old top seed Holger looks destined for great things in the game but has experienced an inconsistent 12 months. 


32-year-old Grigor Dimitrov is enjoying a renaissance in his career and was a former Brisbane International winner. It proved to be a fascinating match-up. In a very tight first set, it reached an inevitable tiebreak with Grigor playing the big points better to edge it out.


The second was close but had an air of inevitability. Rune was consistently struggling on serve and was eventually broken by the ever-steady Dimitrov in the seventh game. The Bulgarian had two match points on Holger’s serve where the young Dane produced some incredible shot-making to hold serve. Grigor served it out in fine fashion and dropped to the ground in tears. 


He had not won a title since the ATP Finals of 2017, a drought of over six years. He told the crowd after the match how much winning a ninth tournament title meant. “It’s been a while since I held one of these, I’m a little emotional,” he said before choking up.


The stats backed up his incredible win with 33 winners to just 14 unforced errors. He’ll be one to watch in Melbourne next week.  



The top two seeds lined up in the women’s final as well with top seed Aryna Sabalenka taking on second seed Elena Rybakina.


It was a repeat of last year’s Australian Open final so expectations were high. Rybakina flew out of the gates playing solid tight tennis making only one unforced error the entire set. With Aryna not able to dominate with her battering backcourt play, she overplayed making many unforced errors Elena took the first set in just 25 minutes much to the shock of the crowd and fans watching from home. 


However, losing a first set 6-0 and coming back to win wasn’t out of the question for Aryna. She had done it in the US Open semi-finals against Madison Keys and on several other occasions before. 


The Belarusian fought back and found her range midway through the second set.Holding her serve and putting pressure on Rybakina’s it started to become a legitimate contest for the title. Ultimately, however, it was too little too late as Rybakina won 6-0 6-3 in 1 hour and 12 minutes. 


Despite the loss, Aryna kept her good humour in the trophy ceremony by having a friendly jibe at her box. “A couple words to my team, we did a bad job today. 6-0 6-3. That’s all your fault guys,” she said laughing. 


Rybakina was gracious in victory thanking her team “It’s been amazing last year. Hopefully this year we continue,” she said. With a start like that to the year,  it looks like Elena could indeed win another slam (or more)  in 2024. 

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