Elena Rybakina acknowledges Liudmila Samsonova is "a really tough opponent" and highlights she plans to give her absolute best and see if that can lead her to her first-ever win over the Russian.
Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, dismantled qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-1 6-4 to reach the Abu Dhabi Open semifinal. On Saturday, top-seeded Rybakina will be battling against No. 8 seed Samsonova for a place in the Abu Dhabi final.
Although Rybakina has been among the best players in the game for the past two years, she has yet to record a win over world No. 15 Samsonova. Going into the Abu Dhabi semifinal, 24-year-old Rybakina has zero wins and four defeats against 25-year-old Samsonova.
“She’s a really tough opponent. I’ve not won against her yet so I will try to do my best and we’ll see what’s going to happen," Rybakina said of facing Samsonova, via The National.
Samsonova on facing Rybakina
After claiming a three-set win over Rybakina in their first meeting in 2021 Montreal, Samsonova earned a straight-set win over the Kazakh in Tokyo the following year. Last year, Samsonova stormed back from a set down to beat Rybakina in Montreal before also beating the world No. 5 in Beijing late in the 2023 season.
Although Samsonova owns a dominant head-to-head against Rybakina, she insists she can enter their Abu Dhabi match relaxed and without anything to lose.
“It’s a good challenge, I have nothing to lose. Elena is already a champion, so all I can do is my best and then we will see,” Samsonova said of facing Rybakina.
“I’m coming from a period when I didn’t play many matches and I didn’t even play to 60 percent of my level. When I arrived here, the goal was to play as many matches as I can, and I’ve done that so I’m happy and can take a lot of confidence.”
It will be interesting to see if Rybakina can finally beat Samsonova or will be the Russian who will continue her dominant head-to-head against the 24-year-old Kazakh.