INDIAN WELLS, Calif.: Elena Rybakina defeated Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (11), 6-4 on Sunday to win the BNP Paribas Open and hand the world's second-ranked player just her second loss this year.
Rybakina carried the momentum from her straight-set semifinal upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek into the final and beat Sabalenka for the first time in five career meetings.
For the first time in their budding rivalry, the match didn't go three sets. Sabalenka went the distance to beat Rybakina in the Australian Open final in January. In that match, Sabalenka fired 17 aces and rallied from a set down to win her first Grand Slam title.
This time, the 10th-seeded Rybakina had seven aces and No. 2 seed Sabalenka committed 10 double faults. Sabalenka won just 11 of 35 second-serve points.
"I would say that I was super disappointed with my serve, so I was back to old habits," she said. "I was like a little bit overreacting on things, and I wasn't there in the first two games in the second set."
Rybakina broke for leads of 2-0 and 5-2 in the second set before Sabalenka closed to 5-4. But Rybakina served out the victory in just over two hours.
Rybakina earned $1,262,220 for the victory; Sabalenka earned $662,360.
"Hopefully I will come back next year and repeat this result," Rybakina said.
Rybakina improved her match record to 16-4 this year; Sabalenka fell to 17-2.
During the victory ceremony, Rybakina, the current Wimbledon champion, told the crowd it was the first time she'd beaten Sabalenka.
Sabalenka stepped forward, took the mic and said, "I will make sure it was the last one."
Then she smiled.