Elena Rybakina fends off Iga Swiatek to reach the final of the Stuttgart Open

April 21, 2024 9:54 am IST

Stuttgart (Germany), April 21 (ANI): Fourth seed Elena Rybakina ended World No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s campaign for a third title at the Stuttgart Open with a 6-3, 4-6 win, 6-3 in the semi-finals.
Rybakina’s 2-hour, 49-minute victory ended Swiatek’s 10-match winning streak in the competition and ensured a new champion would be crowned at the Porsche Arena. In the final, Rybakina will face unseeded Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.
“It was, as always, a very tough match against Iga. I am really happy that I won on clay. Gives confidence of course,” Rybakina said, as quoted by WTA.
Swiatek started the meeting as if she was about to extend her unbeaten record in Stuttgart to 11. She led 2-0 in the first set and had two break points to take the lead 3-0.

From then on, the match was almost always played on Rybakina’s terms. The Kazakhs kept constant pressure on Swiatek’s serve throughout the match, creating 20 break point opportunities in three sets. Swiatek saved sixteen, but the combination of seven double faults and 42 unforced errors contributed to the result.
“I think the return from both angles has definitely improved compared to last year. Of course it depends on the opponent, a bit on the speed of the serve and of course the placement. But since we have played with Iga many times, I try to it more or less to predict where she goes, and (I’m) very happy with the return and overall with the game,” Rybakina said.
Rybakina won five straight games in the first set and had four set chances to win the sixth. She eventually took a one-set lead on her fifth set point, saving a break point that would have put the match back on hold.
Swiatek broke serve for the first time since the opening game of the match to extend the second set. In the decider, the world number 1 saved the first eight break points she faced, but the match was decided on the ninth. Rybakina won three games in a row from 2-1 down (after Swiatek knocked away the sixth break point in the 1-1 match), giving her a lead that she never relinquished.
In the second semifinal of the day, Kostyuk, who is ranked 27th, finally pulled off a straight-sets victory, toppling No. 6 seed Marketa Vondrousova 7-6(2), 6-2. (ANI)

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