Elena Rybakina has become the third player in the Open Era after Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles to reach the final in the same season at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome, per OptaAce.
On Friday night in Rome, Rybakina ousted Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at Foro Italico. Earlier this year, Rybakina ended as runner-up at the Australian Open after losing a tight final to Aryna Sabalenka.
3 - Elena Rybakina is the third player in the Open Era to reach the final in the same season at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome after Monica Seles in 1991 and Maria Sharapova in 2012.
In March, Rybakina won her first WTA 1000 title in Indian Wells before finishing as runner-up at a WTA 1000 event in Miami. In Rome, Rybakina continued her strong season and made her first WTA 1000 clay final. Previously, this feat was achieved by Seles in 1991 and Sharapova in 2012, respectively.
Rybakina emulates Sharapova, Seles
Against Ostapenko, Rybakina made a lightning start as she absolutely dominated the first set. Early in the second set, Rybakina found herself 1-4 down before winning the next five games to complete a two-set win.
"I didn't start that well the second set. A bit low in energy, lost my serve. So it was difficult. Then a few good shots from her, good serves. It changed very quick. The same time, I knew it's only one break and I just need to be focused and fight for every ball because you never know, either you get the winner or it's going to be some mistake," Rybakina said after beating Ostapenko.
The match was interrupted at 4-2 in the second set due to the rain. When the two players returned to the court, Rybakina handled the business. "I came without any expectation because I knew the other years were really tough for me coming and play here.
Maybe for some people, rain is not good. I guess for my allergies it went the other way. It's helping me a bit to feel better here. I'm just happy that I got so many matches now before French Open," Rybakina said.
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