Elena Rybakina gets most difficult possible projected path a No. 1 seed could get

Rybakina's projected path to the Abu Dhabi title is quite something.

by Dzevad Mesic
Elena Rybakina gets most difficult possible projected path a No. 1 seed could get
© Getty Images Sport - Kelly Defina

Elena Rybakina has received one of the most difficult projected paths to winning a title that a top-seeded player could get as the Kazakh's run to the Abu Dhabi Open title could include playing a Grand Slam champion or finalist in every round. 

Rybakina, ranked at No. 5 in the world, earned the No. 1 seed nod in Abu Dhabi and she will have a first-round bye at the tournament. After a first-round bye, Rybakina is projected to meet four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, who faces qualifier Danielle Collins in the first round.

In the Abu Dhabi quarterfinal, Rybakina is projected to meet No. 5 seed and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. For a place in the Abu Dhabi final, Rybakina could potentially meet 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who is the fourth-seeded player in the top half of the draw.

When it comes to the Abu Dhabi final, the projected matchup sees Rybakina taking on No. 2 seed and three-time Grand Slam finalist Ons Jabeur. In 2022, Rybakina became a Grand Slam champion after beating Jabeur in the Wimbledon final.

Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur
Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Rybakina aims her first Abu Dhabi title 

In Abu Dhabi, 24-year-old Rybakina is set for her third appearance. In her tournament debut in 2021, Rybakina made it past a couple of opening rounds before losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinal.

After missing Abu Dhabi in 2022, Rybakina returned to the tournament last year and she was the No. 3 seed. Following a first-round bye last year, Rybakina defeated Karolina Pliskova in the Abu Dhabi round-of-16 before losing to Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarterfinal.

This year, Rybakina is the top-seeded player and the No. 1 favorite for the Abu Dhabi title. 

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

After starting the season by winning the Brisbane International, Rybakina shockingly suffered an Australian Open second-round loss to Anna Blinkova. In Abu Dhabi, Rybakina will be playing her first tournament since the Australian Open as the Kazakh will be looking to make it all the way and bounce back from a very disappointing result at Melbourne Park.

Elena Rybakina