Rybakina Rocks Swiatek, Will Meet Sabalenka For Indian Wells Title

by Staff | March 17th, 2023, 11:03 pm

Elena Rybakina did it again, slamming world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in convincing fashion Friday night in the Indian Wells semifinal 6-2, 6-2.

Rybakina stunned Swiatek in Melbourne 6-4, 6-4, and today even had an easier time. The lanky Kazakh smacked seven aces, lost just six points on first serve, hit 18 winners to just 12 unforced. She was also 5/5 on break chances. At one point, Rybakina won seven straight games to go up 5-0 in the second.

“I think just my aggressive style of the game. Big serves. Today I was pushing a lot. I think that just overall some players it’s more difficult to play against,” Rybakina said of her two wins over Swiatek.

“With Iga, she’s tough, really tough opponent, but when I play like this good and everything goes in, because today some moments I played, I would say, on my highest level. So yeah, there is moments where you can feel, okay, I can beat anyone if I always play like this. But it’s the goal, but you never feel amazing and perfect every match. Yeah, I think today it was just really good from me.”

Swiatek had no answer for Rybakina’s power and depth. And Rybakina just hit her off the court, handing Swiatek her fourth loss of the season already, and all in straight sets. And this was one of her worst losses as a top player.

“Elena played great tennis today, and I feel like against her I have to play better. She was playing really well,” Swiatek said. “I’m pretty sad that I lost, but on the other hand, overall, it’s a pretty good tournament for me.”

She would add a rib issue has been bothering her.

“I feel like it’s still more me and kind of my mistakes,” she said. “I’m also like not feeling 100% physically. I have a little like discomfort in my rib, and we’re going to consult with medical team. For sure I’m gonna use these days off before Miami, so actually I have one more day.”

Rybakina advances her 12th career final. She is seeking her 4th career title. Swiatek was hoping to reach her 16th career final and continue her Indian Wells title defense. She was plagued by 17 unforced errors to just nine winners.

“I would say I didn’t expect that I was going to play that good today,” Rybakina told the crowd.

“I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to come and enjoy and it really went my way. I played really one of the best matches this year. I was really pleased with the game and hopefully, I’m going to play like this on Sunday.”

Rybakina’s win sets up a rematch of the Australian Open final as Aryna Sabalenka is next. The Belarussian improved to 17-1 on the season cruising past former finalist Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3.

“I’m just super happy with another final and super happy with the win against Maria,” said Sabalenka. “She’s such a great fighter, and it’s always tough matches against her. Just super happy with this win.

“I feel really good on court right now, but I also have understanding that it’s not going to be the same all the time. So that’s why I’m keep working hard, make sure in those days when things are not working my way, I still will be able to compete and to get these wins.”

Sabalenka now leads the Greek 5-3 in their series. She’s also won all four meetings with Rybakina, all in straight sets.

“It’s gonna be not an easy match, and it’s gonna be in these clutch moments I just need to play better. Hopefully now it’s gonna change the score between us,” Rybakina said.

The final is on Sunday.

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8 Comments for Rybakina Rocks Swiatek, Will Meet Sabalenka For Indian Wells Title

Wog Boy Says:

Maybe toilet break after first set (in order to feel lighter) would have helped her, like against Sabalenka at USO SF when she was set down?
Some people called her cheater, I wouldn’t go that far😉

Dave Says:

I don’t watch a lot of women’s tennis. Could someone please explain to me how Sabalenka never gets called for hindering the other players shots? she not only grunts super loud, which is fine, but she holds the grunt for so long to the point where Rybakina was hitting the ball and the grunt noise was still going from Sabalenka. I would say on 30 to 50% of her shots. Is that just something that doesn’t get called? I’m just curious.

chrisford1 Says:

It’s a good question. Be great if someone had the time to dig and see if there’s a fan forum debate going on about if it is an ongoing complaint that the WTA is kicking around. For their stars, it seems, the WTA, IMO, its trapped by precedence. It gets into the endorser exception made for Sharapova, who clearly hindered and intimidated with her howls, but had big sponsor endorsements that benefited her and the WTA with revenue.
I like a lot of things about Sabelenka, including most of her personality – but hard to watch with the screaming. I prefer Rybakina because she is also an appealing player in many ways including good looks like Aryna has – but quieter. MUCH quieter.
They should have tried beating the screaming out Sabelenka (figuratively speaking of course) when she was a junior. If she’s always been that way, the WTA juniors supervision and her coach made mistakes.
Or it just could have got worse over time..and the big scream is a recent issue.

Dave Says:

Really good points chrisford1. I like Sabalenka’s personality as well. But the grunting is tough as well for me to hear so much. The player on the ATP tour that comes to mind first for me is Brooksby. He definitely does it to get under the skin of his opponents. And it’s so much. Rybakina along with Garcia are my 2 favourite players on the WTA Tour at the moment.

skeezer Says:

The excessive grunting screaming etc when hitting the ball is nothing new in the game. It started becoming somewhat obnoxious around the Monica Seles days and continued with Sharapova. Been around for decades. They (officials) just won’t do anything about it so it continues…..

tennismonger Says:

Yes…as big a fan I was of Monica’s, I think she was patient zero for this in the WTA. Does anyone remember the year Wimbledon cracked down on her but not until just prior to her final w/Steffi Graf? Seles was clearly out of sorts as a result and lost badly. I don’t think the no grunt rule was ever enforced after that…

And in fairness, let’s not forget that it was Jimmy Connors who really started it with the men. I’m not sure if any players complained of the distraction but it’s never good to hear as a spectator.

Wog Boy Says:

Ones Monika turned American and started competing under American flag they stopped harassing her and calling her out for grunting, suddenly it was ok to grunt?!

Funny how people are not mentioning Serena’s 100 plus decibels screams?

Wog Boy Says:

Btw, her name is spelled “Monika”.

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