Indian Wells: Another final, another showdown for Elena Rybakina & Aryna Sabalenka
by ABBEY JOHNSON | VIEW 4188
Elena Rybakina got the better of Iga Swiatek for the second time this year as she defeated the top seed in their semi-final match at Indian Wells on Thursday. The 10th seed from Kazakhstan put forth a commanding 6-2, 6-2 win after 76 minutes of play.
Swiatek who’d been largely untested in her first four rounds in California was tethered by Rybakina’s game from her first service game itself. The Pole had no counters to her opponent’s aggressive play and it cost her throughout the match.
Rybakina hit seven aces in the match, six more than Swiatek. She also won 82% of her first-serve points and made the no. 1 player in the world look like a weaker rival as she won 53% points on return on Swiatek’s first serve.
Rybakina dropped her serve just once across the match while converting all five break points on Swiatek’s serve. At the end of the match, she’d twice as many winners and Swiatek’s nine and five fewer unforced errors than the three-time Slam champion’s 17.
Following her win, Rybakina said, “I would say I didn't expect that I was going to play that good today. Yesterday (Friday) was a really tough match. I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to come and enjoy and it really went my way.
I played really one of the best matches this year. I was really pleased with the game and hopefully, I'm going to play like this on Sunday”.
Indian Wells: Aryna Sabalenka's 2023 bonanza continues
On Sunday, the 23-year-old will play another familiar player in Aryna Sabalenka.
The world no. 2 lost five games in 83 minutes to claim a 6-2, 6-3 win over seventh seed Maria Sakkari. Sabalenka won 74% of her first-serve points to Sakkari’s 69% and 50% of her second-serve points. But the second seed won 77% points on return on the Greek’s serve.
Sabalenka went on to save two of the four break points she faced while converting five break points on Sakkari’s serve. Aryna Sabalenka playing Elena Rybakina in the Indian Wells final will see the two face-off against each other for the title again this year.
In January, Sabalenka and Rybakina played a qualitative final at the Australian Open before Sabalenka claimed her maiden Major after three sets of play. That win meant the 24-year-old extended her win-to-loss margin over Rybakina to four wins and zero losses. Photo Credit: We are Tennis Twitter