World No. 10 Elena Rybakina was beaten by Iga Swiatek from her opening match.© AFP
Elena Rybakina once again proved what world number one Iga Swiatek is capable of as her 6-2, 6-2 semi-final victory on Friday kept the defending champions out of the Indian Wells final. Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina, the defending Wimbledon champion who beat top seed Swiatek in the fourth round of the Australian Open to reach the final, will now have a chance to reverse Aryna Sabalenka, who beat her to her first Grand Slam in Melbourne champion. World No. 2 Sabalenka beat Greece’s seventh-seeded Maria Sakari 6-2, 6-3 to advance.
World No. 10 Rybakina was by Swiatek’s side from the opening match, drawing lines with her punishing ground strokes and serving with precision.
Swiatek, winner of last year’s French and US Opens, a tournament that has won a total of eight titles, had no answers at all and gave up the first set with a double fault.
This was even more the case in the second game, as Rybakina took a 5-0 lead. Swatek, who revealed “discomfort” in her ribcage after the match, ended up saving at 5-1 and pounced in the next match when Rybakina suddenly struggled with her first serve.
Rybakina still managed to score two match points at 40-15, but Swatek saved one with an overhead shot and the other with a second-serve comeback to win two more points to finish 5-2 break.
But there will be no comeback. Swiatek appeared to stumble while chasing the ball back to the baseline, and this time the miss gave Rybakina another match point as she confidently pulled the ball back one inning.
“I didn’t expect that I would play so well today,” admitted Rybakina, who beat Czech Karolina Muchova in three sets in the quarterfinals.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from syndicated feeds.)
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