Elena Rybakina joins Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty in achieving impressive feat



by DZEVAD MESIC

Elena Rybakina joins Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty in achieving impressive feat

Elena Rybakina has joined the list that features Serena Williams in winning a Grand Slam or WTA 1000 title on each surface, per OptaAce. Rybakina, 23, won this year's WTA 1000 Rome title after Anhelina Kalinina retired their final match while 4-6 0-1 down to the Kazakh.

Last summer, Rybakina became a Grand Slam champion after winning Wimbledon. In March, Rybakina lifted her first WTA 1000 title in Indian Wells. This past fortnight, Rybakina made it all the way on the clay courts of Rome. Rybakina has now joined a list that features Williams, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, and Garbina Muguruza.

Rybakina on her Rome win

After clinching the Rome title, Rybakina was happy about her triumph but noted it was sad that she won the final via a Kalinina retirement.

"Of course, happy with the title. Not the way I want to finish this match. It's been great, I think, results for Anhelina. She played some tough battles. Really happy for her improvement. Hopefully she can continue like this. Pity she couldn't finish the match.

I hope that it's nothing serious. So hopefully she can recover quick and she can continue like this," Rybakina said after the match. Kalinina, 26, was playing in the biggest final of her career. Unfortunately, a left thigh injury didn't even allow Kalinina to finish the biggest match of the game.

"I feel like I am at my physical limit today especially. Today, yeah, I started, but after, I don't know, two, three games, I couldn't. I was trying, but it was absolutely impossible. I'm most proud of my fighting spirit these two weeks.

I was fighting despite the score, any situation, any weather conditions, opponents. Everyone was very tough. A serious draw," Kalinina said. Meanwhile, Rybakina secured a top-5 ranking for the first time in her career with a Rome win.

Elena Rybakina Serena Williams Ashleigh Barty