Elena Rybakina beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the 2023 Australian Open on Tuesday. The 22nd seed from Kazakhstan finished the match in an hour and 19 minutes. Ostapenko had a 2-0 record against Rybakina going into the match but from the first game, the latter came out looking the better player in the match-up.
With both players expected to match each other in terms of ball striking, Rybakina came out as the better player. Ostapenko never looked to have gotten past the early break of serve and soon, dropped her serve for the second time.
She did have a couple of break points to get one of the two breaks back but Rybakina closed the door on that opportunity firmly. In the eighth game of the set, Rybakina served out the set to 15.
Australian Open: Elena Rybakina's Major glory
The 2017 French Open champion began the second set by playing freely and by securing a break on Rybakina’s serve.
However, she handed it right back without being able to consolidate it. In the fourth game, the 17th seed had a few more break points to go up 3-1 in the set as Rybakina struggled to get it right on her serve. Nonetheless, after what was a lengthy service game that had a few errors, some good shot-making, and a couple of instances of Rybakina’s serve coming through under pressure, the 2022 Wimbledon champion won her first service game of the set.
In the fifth game, pressure told on Ostapenko and she lost her service game to put Rybakina ahead in the match. And although she kept trying until the end, the match had gotten away from Ostapenko entirely as Rybakina closed out the match in a long 10th game that featured a couple of deuces.
Rybakina hit 24 winners, five more than Ostapenko’s 19 and had 21 unforced errors to the latter’s 21. But the biggest difference in the outcome came in the number of break points saved and converted by each. Both players faced eight break points each.
But where Rybakina converted four of these, Ostapenko could convert on just the one. Meanwhile, the Australian Open semi-final’s the second time Elena Rybakina’s reached a Major semi. She will play either Jessica Pegula or Victoria Azarenka next. Photo Credit: WTA Twitter