On Sunday, Elena Rybakina will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells. This will be a fitting championship matchup for the “fifth major,” as it will feature two of the last three women's major champions. Rybakina won her maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon, while Sabalenka claimed hers at the Australian Open. And the interesting thing about the latter is that Sabalenka came back from a set down to beat Rybakina in that final Down Under.
With world No. 1 Iga Swiatek out—at the hands of Rybakina again—it now looks like the Kazakh and Sabalenka have leveled the playing field at the top of the women’s game a bit. Sure, Swiatek is the one that is the most consistent of the bunch, but these two are popping up in more and more finals. And this has the potential to turn into an exciting rivalry. But while it’s Rybakina that is coming off the more impressive of the two semi-final performances, we’re having a hard time not backing Sabalenka here.