All-Belarusian final still live at Open

An unseeded Polish surprise packet and a Kazakh Wimbledon champion with Russian heritage stand in the way of the Australian Open women's final becoming an all-Belarusian affair.

Big-serving Elena Rybakina, who switched allegiances from Russia to Kazakhstan in 2018, will attempt to claim her second grand slam in the space of eight months when she takes on Belarusia's two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

Meanwhile unfancied pole Magda Linette is hoping to continue her giant-killing run against Belarusian world No.5 Sabalenka later on Thursday night.

Neither Azarenka nor Sabalenka were permitted to feature last year at Wimbledon, which Rybakina won, due to the All England Club's ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes following the invasion of Ukraine.

But ahead of her final-four clash with Linette, Sabalenka made no secret of her desire to tee up an all-Belarusian final with Azarenka.

"I really want it to happen," Sabalenka said.

"I know that Vika (Azarenka) will do everything she can to make it happen.I will do everything I can to make it happen.

"That's going to be history. That's going to be just like unbelievable and tough to realise that this actually happens.

"I don't know actually what to say, to be honest. It just going to be huge. I think this is going to help other kids to understand that they can do well in this sport, they can be a top player."

Sabalenka thrashed Linette 6-2 6-1 at the Tokyo Olympics and the Pole conceded she will have to get creative with her coaches to avoid a similar fate.

"My last encounter wasn't the best at the Olympics, so I think I have really big room there, because it obviously can't be any worse than the last one," she said.

"I will just try what I'm doing this whole week. I'm being very consistent, returning really well, and keeping my serves. I think she will be just a little bit more consistent version of being aggressive on every single shot.

"I will just need to serve really well again."

Meanwhile Azarenka wasn't daring to dream just yet of a third Open crown, a decade after she became a back-to-back champion.

"Too far to think about that," she said.

"Thinking about winning, I mean, it's there obviously, kind of flying around, the thoughts.

"I don't really want to take my mind there. I just really want to focus on something that works for me, that keeps me focused, that keeps me - I want to say calm - just keeps me at peace."