Rybakina Has Her Revenge, Beats Sabalenka For Indian Wells Title

by Staff | March 20th, 2023, 12:56 am
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After four straight losses including a tough defeat in the Australian Open final, Elena Rybakina finally beat Aryna Sabalenka, taking down the Belarussian 7-6(11), 6-4 to capture the Indian Wells title.

“It was an incredible two weeks here,” Rybakina said on court. “It’s always a pleasure to play against Aryna, and it’s always a tough battle.

“It’s actually the first time it went my way,” Rybakina said of her losses to Sabalenka.

Then Sabalenka got in and joked, “I will make sure it was the last one.”

The 23-year-old Rybakina earns her fourth career title, first since Wimbledon and first at the WTA 1000 level.

” I think important was the first set. We both had chances, but in the end, it went my way. So I think it was important this first set, and then it was a bit easier to start the second with an early break,” Rybakina said.

In a crazy opening set, it was Sabalenka who was in control but the double faults, which had been at bay, returned and returned in a bad way. Sabalenka had 10 double faults, all in a marathon first set. And she saw two set points come and go in the breaker including one which was missed on a double fault.

Rybakina also struggled, missing on her first five set point chances before finally converting in nearly 1 hour, 20 minute first set.

In the second, Rybakina got off to an early break and then added another insurance to hold on for her second biggest title of her young career.

“This tiebreak was really epic, I would say, with all these double faults and nerves. So in the end, it was just focusing on every point and try to fight till the end,” Rybakina said.

Sabalenka suffered just her second loss of the season.

“It was another tough battle and this one goes to her. She deserve it, she’s a great player. Hopefully next one I will do a little bit better,” Sabalenka said.

The double faults killed her first set chances.

“There will be some days when, like, old habits will come back and you just have to work through it and not every match will be like going your way, and you will be serving perfectly,” Sabalenka said. “So it just kind of reminder that that’s okay to still struggling with something. That’s okay to don’t play your best and like keep fighting and keep using the rest of the weapons, you know.

“Today I would say that I was super disappointed with my serve, so I was back to old habits. I was like a little bit overreacting on things, and I wasn’t there in the first two games in the second set.”

Rybakina who doesn’t have the 2,000 Wimbledon ranking points, moves up to No. 7 in the rankings. The Kazakh can make a strong case she’s Top 2, Top 3 after beating both No. 1 and No. 2 this weekend in straight sets.

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