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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    WTA News: Elena Rybakina charges into Miami Open semifinals

    Elena Rybakina is closing in on a small piece of tennis history as she heads to the semifinals of the Miami Open.

    The 10th-seeded Kazakhstani crushed 25th-seeded Martina Trevisan of Italy 6-3, 6-0 on Tuesday for her 12th consecutive win.

    Rybakina’s streak included a championship run at the recent BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.

    Should Rybakina beat third-seeded Jessica Pegula of the United States in the semifinal and then win the final in Miami, she would become the fifth woman ever to sweep the “Sunshine Double” (Indian Wells and Miami) in the same year.

    The list of WTA players who have captured the “Sunshine Double” currently consists of Germany’s Steffi Graf (1994 and 1996), Belgium’s Kim Clijsters (2005), Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka (2016) and Poland’s Iga Swiatek (2022).

    “For sure I don’t have any pressure,” Rybakina said. “I know that it’s very difficult and not many players did it. Plus, I was match point down (against Paula Badosa in the third round), so I really don’t think so far in the draw.

    “I just need to focus match by match, and I have a tough opponent. Of course it would be amazing to achieve something like that, but it’s still far away.”

    Rybakina racked up a 10-0 edge in aces against Trevisan. Rybakina also picked on the Italian’s serve, winning 58 percent of all return points, including 69 percent (11 of 16) of her second-return points.

    “I would say that of course maybe I’m moving not as good as I was moving in Indian Wells, but overall I think that I’m trying to keep that level from Indian Wells,” Rybakina said. “There is a lot of ups and downs, but I think overall it’s not bad.”

    Next up for Rybakina is a matchup against Pegula, who shook off two match points while rallying past 27th-seeded Anastasia Potapova of Russia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

    Potapova served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but couldn’t covert her two chances to seal the victory as Pegula fought for a service break. Potapova then broke Pegula’s serve and served for the match again at 6-5, but again she was unsuccessful, this time setting up the decisive tiebreaker.

    Pegula won four consecutive points in the tiebreaker to go in front 5-1 before closing it out.

    –Field Level Media


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