Elena Rybakina has become the first player since Belinda Bencic to clinch four consecutive wins against the world No 1 in women's tennis, via OptaAce. On Friday, world No 5 Rybakina defeated top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-2 in the Beijing quarterfinal.
Earlier this year, Rybakina clinched three consecutive wins over Iga Swiatek, who at the time was the world No 1 in women's tennis. Before Rybakina, the last player to win four consecutive matches against the world No 1 was Bencic, who accomplished the feat between 2015 and 2019.
Before beating Sabalenka in Beijing, Rybakina claimed wins over Swiatek at this year's Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Rome.
4 - With victory over Aryna Sabalenka to reach the Beijing SF, Elena Rybakina is the first player to win four consecutive matches against the WTA's #1 since Belinda Bencic between Toronto 2015 and the US Open 2019.
Rybakina beats Sabalenka, earns her fourth consecutive win against the No 1
Against Sabalenka, Rybakina earned the first break of the match in the third game but got broken back immediately in the following game.
After blowing an early first-set break, Rybakina broke Sabalenka again in the 11th game for a 6-5 lead. Serving out for the first set in the 12th game, Rybakina converted her first set point to clinch the opener. Through the first three games of the second set, there were no breaks and Sabalenka had a 2-1 lead.
Then, Rybakina claimed back-to-back breaks in the fifth and seventh games to win five games in a row and complete a two-set win in style. "I played really well today. I served really well, so I'm really happy with my performance today.
It's always tough battles against Aryna and I really enjoy playing against her," Rybakina said after beating Sabalenka. After losing to Sabalenka in the Australian Open final, Rybakina beat the Belarusian in the Indian Wells final and now the Beijing quarterfinal.
Now, Rybakina is set to play against Liudmila Samsonova in the Beijing semifinal. In Beijing, Rybakina is now two wins away from winning it all in her tournament debut.