Two Grand Slam champions, a four-time major semifinalist and an unseeded player on her best form make up the 2023 Australian Open women's semifinal field.
Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka, the two past major winners, face each other on Thursday in Melbourne.
No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka, who is in her fourth semifinal in seven majors, takes on the unseeded Magda Linette in the other last-four contest.
All four players were excellent in their respective quarterfinal matches, as they advanced in straight sets.
The form of the remaining quartet suggests we will be treated to a pair of superb matches inside Rod Laver Arena.
Women's Semifinal Schedule
Date: Thursday, January 26
Start Time: 3:30 a.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app
No. 22 Elena Rybakina vs. No. 24 Victoria Azarenka
Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka became major champions in different eras of women's tennis.
Rybakina burst on to the scene last year, when she defeated Ons Jabeur to win Wimbledon. The run in London marked the first time the 23-year-old had advanced beyond the final eight of a major.
The No. 22 seed discovered a new level of form at Wimbledon and that has been on display at the Australian Open.
Rybakina owns the biggest win of the tournament. She eliminated top seed Iga Świątek in straight sets in the fourth round. She has dropped a single set in her five matches, which came against 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins in the third round.
The Kazakh has only met Azarenka once previously, when she defeated the Belarusian in straight sets in Indian Wells, California in 2022.
Azarenka rediscovered her glory days of the early 2010s when she won both of her major titles and appeared in five major semifinals in a three-year span from 2011-13.
The No. 24 seed carries a wealth of late-round experience in Australia from her victories in 2012 and 2013.
Azarenka benefited partly from that experience, and from the battles she faced in the early rounds, to take down third-seeded American Jessica Pegula in straight sets to reach the final four.
The 33-year-old won a pair of three-set battles in which she lost the first set against Madison Keys and Zhu Lin. She also battled through tough matches against 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round and 2020 French Open semifinalist Nadia Podoroska in the second round.
Azarenka has had the tougher overall trip to the final four, but Rybakina could make the argument she is in better form after defeating both finalists from 12 months ago.
No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette
Aryna Sabalenka will be the overwhelming favorite against Magda Linette.
The Belarusian is in her fourth Grand Slam semifinal in three years and owns a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over her opponent.
The No. 5 seed has not lost a set in Melbourne. She looked dominant in her quarterfinal win over Donna Vekić, who came into Tuesday with just two dropped sets in four rounds on her tournament resume.
The knock on Sabalenka is that she has been able to reach the semifinal stage but not get past it. She has fallen to Świątek, Karolina Pliskova and Leylah Fernandez in her last-four encounters at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open over the last two seasons.
All three of Sabalenka's previous semifinal matches went the distance. That would not be an ideal situation this time around against the unseeded Linette.
The 30-year-old Pole had never been past the third round at a major in her decade-long career before this year. She played spectacular tennis to beat four seeded players in a row, including three ranked in the top 20.
Linette will enter Rod Laver Arena with a ton of confidence that she can earn a second upset over a top-five player. She beat No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia in the fourth round.
If Sabalenka keeps up the high level of play that has kept her from losing a set in Australia, she should cruise past Linette and finally reach a Grand Slam final.