Rybakina upsets Swiatek to book Indian Wells Open final against Sabalenka

By Sports Desk March 17, 2023

Elena Rybakina is through to her second final of the year after upsetting world number one Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-2 in Friday's Indian Wells Open semi-final.

Rybakina, 25, added to her terrific recent head-to-head record against the 21-year-old Polish superstar, now with three consecutive straight sets victories since December.

The reigning Wimbledon champion, who became Kazakhstan's first grand slam winner, was all over Swiatek's serve from the jump.

The top seed ended up winning just 42 per cent (18-of-43) of her total service points, with Rybakina converting all five of her break point opportunities.

After taking the opening frame, Rybakina slammed the door shut by running out to a 5-0 lead in the second, hitting five aces in the set while Swiatek had just one for the match.

Rybakina will next face world number two Aryna Sabalenka in the decider after the Belarusian made similar light work of world number seven Maria Sakkari.

Sabalenka, who has dropped only one set en route to the final, needed just 85 minutes to advance 6-2 6-3. She created 10 break point opportunities compared to Sakkari's four, with the Greek talent not able to pull another rabbit out of the hat after four consecutive three-set victories.

It will be the sixth overall meeting between Rybakina and Sabalenka, and a rematch from the Australian Open final, when Sabalenka took it 4-6 6-3 6-4 to extend her head-to-head advantage to 4-1.

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    “I think the tournament is quite open. Maybe a few guys that are at the top of the favourites’ list, but anyone can take it. I’m hoping it can be me.”

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