Rybakina Slides Past Ostapenko, Reaches Rome Masters Final Against Kalinina
Today, the 23-year-old Rybakina overcame the rain and former French Open winner Jelenka Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to advance to her biggest final ever on the slippery red surface.
Ostapenko saw a 4-1 edge in the second set fall away as the powerful Rybakina benefited from a rain delay and won the last five games of the match.
With the Latvian serving 4-2 the match was stopped as both left the court. When play resumed – and resumed after another brief delay minutes after — Rybakina took full control.
“It was a really tough day overall, with all the rain delays. I’m just happy to be in the final,” Rybakina said.
“I didn’t start that well the second set,” Rybakina addewd to the WTA. “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.”
Earlier in the day, Anhelina Kalinina shook off a second set collapse to topple Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
In this Ukraine-Russian semifinal between two players seeking a first 1000 final, Kalinina led a set and 4-2 in the second before dropping five of the next six games.
But Kalinina recovered in the third breaking twice to start the third and reach the biggest final of her career.
“It’s really important to win every match, because of what Ukraine goes through,” the 26-year-old Kalinina told the crowd. “I really hope that I give a tiny, small light, maybe some positive emotions for my country. I really hope that Ukraine a little bit enjoys.”
Ahead of the Saturday final, Rybakina and Kalinina have played just once before with Kalinina winning in Charleston last year in three sets.
“Actually she used to work with my coach,” Rybakina said of Kalinina. “We just have a good relationship. I’m always cheering for her also. Same, whenever I win, she’s always supporting. We have a good relationship.
“I’m happy that we’re going to play a final.”
Rybakina is in her 14th career final, she is seeking her 5th career title. Kalinina is looking for her first career title in her second final after 2021 Budapest.
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