Melbourne, Australia – The first Grand Slam of 2023 was a roaring success for Team Yonex. In the women's singles, Elena Rybakina (KAZ) finished as runner up, while wildcard entry Rinky Hijikata (AUS) won the men's doubles title.
In the Women's Wheelchair category, Diede De Groot (NED) continued her dominance by winning both the singles and doubles events.
Yonex players also dominated the serving categories, with men's quarterfinalist Ben Shelton (USA) producing 85 aces, and Rybakina, with her VCORE Racquet, recording 54 aces as her serve reached 195 km/h, the joint fastest serve of the tournament.
Rybakina won 6 matches, 1200 ranking points, and now she is top 10 in the world!
At the beginning of the competition, Elena Rybakina made her ambitions clear: "I don't fight for points. You fight to win.” True to her word, she did just that with six victories. Among them was a 6-4, 6-4 victory over world No. 1 Iga Swiatek (POL).
Rybakina’s tournament began with a day session on Court 13. Her second round match took place at the very last match of John Cain Arena, also known as "The People's Court. After a long day, disrupted by rain, she ended with a short victory in less than an hour.
In her high stakes fourth round match against Iga Swiatek, the world number one, she finally stood on the Rod Laver Arena, the biggest court, as she pulled off a signature win.
In the quarterfinals against Jelena Ostapenko (LAT), the 23 year-old Kazakhstani adjusted to the roof closing due to rain after a rapid start.
The semifinal against Victoria Azarenka was played during the night session on Rod Laver Arena. Under the immense pressure of a grand slam semi-final, she learned that the Arena has a different face in the night. She had to adjust to the heavy ball and slower conditions, yet she still found a way to win.
Rybakina’s adapted to every new environment, demonstrating her ice-cold composure in all situations as she reached the final.
"Overall I was feeling good these two weeks, the tournaments before I played,” she said. “But for sure I don't really look for the numbers ranking so much."
She may not care about the rankings that much, but Rybakina has risen to a career high ranking of No 10, a well deserved top 10 debut for a two-time grand slam finalist.
Rinky Inherits Aussie Legacy
Rinky Hijikata continued Australia’s doubles tradition established by Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis last year, shocking the field to win the men’s doubles title alongside his country Jason Kubler.
"I think we were just happy to be in the draw, to be honest," said Hijikata, a grand slam champion for the first time.
Diede the Queen
The ability to edge out victories regardless of the situation is one of the qualities that have helped Diede de Groot become queen and it helped her again in Australia. After losing the first set 6-0 to her long-time rival Yui Kamiji (JPN) in the singles final, she recovered to win the title. De Groot extended her consecutive Grand Slam singles title streak to 10, and this is the third consecutive time that she has won both singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open.
Official Partner of the Australian Open
Providing the world standard of racquet stringing, the Yonex Stringing Team strung 6,938 racquets using Made-in-Japan PRECISION 9.0 machines that excel in precision stringing during their time in Melbourne.
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) | VCORE [LINK] / POLYTOUR FIRE [LINK]
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) | EZONE [LINK] ] / POLYTOUR STRIKE [LINK]
Diede de Groot (NED) | VCORE [LINK] / REXIS COMFORT[LINK]