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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Sports » How Rybakina Reached Wimbledon Final

How Rybakina Reached Wimbledon Final

By Rediff Sports
July 09, 2022 12:17 IST
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IMAGE: Elena Rybakina is a tough cookie: The big-hitter has returned 144 winners and 49 aces thus far. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Elena Rybakina will become the first player from Kazakhstan to play the Wimbledon Women's Final, when she takes on Tunisia's Ons Jabeur for the Rosewater Dish in a battle of rookies.

It's ironic that a player born in Moscow, who represented Russia till 2018, will contest a final in a year Wimbledon banned Russians and Belarussians.

The 23 year old, whose previous best performance in a Grand Slam was reaching the quarter-final at the French Open last year, would like to create history on the hallowed turf of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club this evening.

Rybakina is a tough cookie: The big-hitter has returned 144 winners and 49 aces to make the final.

Here's the 17th seed's road to the Wimbledon Final:

Rybakina has had to play tie-breakers in three of the six matches at the Championships so far.

That apart, her serves have consistently hit above the 115-run mark on the speedometer, with her hitting 199 mph, joint second fastest, alongside Petra Kvitova in the Championships this year.

In the first round she beat American Coco Vandeweghe 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 to move into Round 2 after a solid fight. She won important points and converted the only break point she got when the 2nd set was on 6-5.


IMAGE: Rybakina had some tough moments against Canada's Bianca Andreescu in the 2nd round. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

She pulled through eventually to the 2nd round where she beat former US Open champion Canadian Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 7-6(7-5) to advance.

Rybakina sailed through the first set, playing some sublime tennis. But it was a different story in the second set with. The Canadian gave a real fight to force a 2nd set tie-break from 3-5 down. Elena was broken when she was serving for the match, but came back strongly to clinch the set and advance to the third round.

IMAGE: Rybakina reached the fourth round at the Wimbledon in back-to-back seasons after beating Chinese Qinwen Zheng. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

In the 3rd round she beat Qinwen Zheng 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. She edged her opponents on important moments.

She won three of the four break points she had and won the first set tie-breaker. She sent down 7 aces, but once again she went past her Chinese opponent in the opening set, before claiming the 2nd set, coming back from 0-2, to pocket the match to move into the fourth round.

Rybakina reached the fourth round at the Wimbledon in back-to-back seasons where she met Croatian Petra Martic.


IMAGE: Rybakina, who switched to playing for Kazakhstan from Russia aged 19, hit 26 winners to advance to her maiden Wimbledon quarter-finals. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

In the 4th round she beat Petra Martic 7-5, 6-3 hitting twice as many winners as her unseeded opponent.

Rybakina hit 26 winners in the opening contest on Court One while committing five fewer unforced errors than the 80th-ranked Martic to control the match.

Rybakina raced to a 3-0 lead, but Martic rallied to reel in the next four games to put her nose ahead in the match only for the Kazakh to break back immediately to level things. Rybakina then got the crucial break in the 12th game to take the first set.

The second set stayed on serve till Rybakina broke the Croatian in the sixth game before sealing the win in an hour and 20 minutes.

IMAGE: The big-serving Rybakina came back from a set down to beat Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarters. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Fighting her way into her first quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, it was expected to be a slugfest and a real fight it was as Rybakina edged Ajla Tomljanovic in three sets to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Rybakina was a set down before outplaying the Aussie to move into the semis.

The first set was close, but swung on the third game when, after five deuces Tomljanovic broke before serving strongly to take it 6-4.

Rybakina broke early in the second and though Ajla's athletic court coverage enabled her to hit straight back, the 6 foot tall Kazakh then took total command, breaking to love to win the second on the back of 11 straight points.

She took a 3-0 lead after winning seven games in a row, and breaking again for 5-1 before fittingly finished the match with an ace.

IMAGE: Rybakina celebrates winning her semi-final match against Simona Halep. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Rybakina barged into her maiden Wimbledon final overpowering 2019 Champion Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3.

It was the Kazakh's rasping serves and savage forehands to which Romanian Halep found no answers to. The consistent power-hitting had Halep guessing.

Rybakina broke Halep four times, while Simona let herself down with 9 double faults and only half of her total first serves.

Rybakina put on a clinical show that saw her book her place in the Final.

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