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Indian Wells Masters women's final preview: Elena Rybakina out to upset the odds

Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka will meet in the women's singles final of the Indian Wells Masters in a repeat of January's Australian Open showpiece.

It promises to be a fascinating match-up between two players who look very evenly matched and are currently at the top of their games. 

WhatElena Rybakina v Aryna Sabalenka
WhereIndian Wells, California
When18:00, Sunday 19th March, 2023
How to watchAmazon Prime
OddsElena Rybakina 11/8, Aryna Sabalenka 4/7

Rybakina full of confidence 

Rybakina goes into the Indian Wells final as the underdog, despite knocking out world number one Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals. 

The 23-year-old has grown in confidence and belief since her victory at Wimbledon last year and that was highlighted in an impressive victory over her Polish opponent. 

Rybakina stated afterwards that in spells she played "at my highest level" as she comfortably beat Swiatek in straight sets, 6-2 6-2. 

The Kazakh star needed just 36 minutes to win the first set and very quickly shot into a 4-0 lead in the second, making light work of the top seed and defending champion. 

Rybakina has now set up a chance to gain revenge for her defeat in the opening Grand Slam final of the year, when she lost 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 – another three-set match can be backed at 6/5.  

The 10th seed has dropped just one set – in the quarter-final against Karolina Muchova – en-route to the final and victory over the defending champion Swiatek will have no doubt boosted her confidence of claiming a Masters Series title. 

But she will need to end a winless run against Sabalenka, with the Belarusian winning all four of their previous meetings, with all of them going to three sets. 

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Sabalenka is California favourite 

World number two Sabalenka has also only dropped one set on her way to the final and made light work of semi-final opponent Maria Sakkari. 

The Australian Open winner secured a 6-2, 6-3 victory in one hour and 23 minutes to reach her third WTA final of the year to date. 

Speaking after her latest success, Sabalenka said: "I feel really good on court right now, but I also have understanding that it's not going to be the same all the time. 

"That's why I keep working hard, make sure in those days when things are not working my way, I still will be able to compete and to get these wins." 

The Belarusian, who is 13/5 to win the final 2-1, is undefeated in her four previous WTA 1000 finals and has claimed 24 wins against top-10 players since 2018 – more than any other player during that time. 

At 24, Sabalenka is a year older than her opponent and has played over 100 matches more – with 12 singles titles to Rybakina's three. 

History suggests a tight encounter 

Three of the last five Indian Wells Masters women's singles finals have been three-set matches and there have been some surprise winners in recent times. 

Paula Badosa and Victoria Azarenka met in the 2021 showpiece, which was the longest Indian Wells final at three hours and four minutes. The 21st seed Badosa became the first Spanish woman to win this title. 

In 2019, Bianca Andreescu won her first WTA Tour title, with the Canadian coming out on top in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 clash with Angelique Kerber. 

The last four Indian Wells finals have seen the winner collect the first set and if Rybakina is to claim the title on Sunday, then a good start looks essential. The world number 10 available at 6/5 to win the first set.

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