Miami Open: Elena Rybakina still in sight of Sunshine Double as she enters finale

Petra Kvitova outlasted Ekaterina Alexandrova in their rain-postponed last-eight match-up

by Abbey Johnson
Miami Open: Elena Rybakina still in sight of Sunshine Double as she enters finale

Elena Rybakina posted her first victory against Jessica Pegula on Thursday evening in their semi-final match at the Miami Open. The Kazakh won 7-6(3), 6-4 after an hour and 51 minutes of play. Pegula led Rybakina across both sets.

In the first set, the world no. 3 even served for it twice, in the 10th and 12th games. However, on both occasions she was thwarted and eventually it was Rybakina who secured the lead for herself after clinching the tie-break.

In the second set, Pegula once again lead 4-2. After that point, she was unable to win a single game as Rybakina won four games in a row to post a win in straight sets. Pegula finished the match with an ace and two double faults.

Rybakina, however, had 11 aces and six double faults. The world no. 7 won 68% of her first-serve points to the third seed’s 55%. Rybakina finished the match by winning 39% of her second-serve points to Pegula’s 33%.

Fourteen points separated Rybakina from Pegula in the match. The 23-year-old won 90 points to her 29-year-old opponent’s 76. Post-match, Rybakina said, “Jessica, she played really well some moments. It's not easy to play against her because she keeps the ball really low, and it's difficult to redirect the ball.

I was playing today better when I was down. Then I think that I was doing everything correct. It was just not enough maybe energy. Maybe I was getting a bit mad when I was down. So, I was trying to push myself”.

Miami Open: Elena Rybakina seeks to reignite old rivalries

Rybakina now awaits either 15th seed Petra Kvitova or Sorana Cirstea in the final.

Earlier on Thursday, Kvitova played her quarter-final against 18th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. The Czech needed over two hours to claim a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win. This semi-final marks Petra Kvitova’s debut at this stage of the Miami Open.

Meanwhile, Elena Rybakina who’s looking to win the Sunshine Double carries 1-1 record against her. Against Cirstea, Rybakina has a 2-0 lead although both of these matches were played over three years ago, in 2020.

Elena Rybakina Petra Kvitova Ekaterina Alexandrova