Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Rybakina advances to the Australian Open semifinals with impunity

Ruthless Rybakina rolls into Australian Open semi-finals

 MELBOURNE: After defeating Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina became the first player into the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Kazakh woman, who was born in Russia, looked sharp from the start, and she finished the first set within half an hour of arriving on court, despite having to close the stadium roof for 25 minutes to protect it from a passing shower.

Ostapenko, a former French Open champion, appeared unable to handle Rybakina's speed and power in the first set, but she ramped up her own fierce groundstrokes and broke for a 2-0 lead in the second.

However, Rybakina, who defeated top seed Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, broke right back, saving four break points in the next game with great tennis to maintain her lead.

The 23-year-old took advantage of the momentum to break her Latvian opponent once more, giving her a 3-2 lead. From there, all she had to do was maintain her impressive serve.

As Rybakina served for a spot in her second Grand Slam semi-final, there were some nerves, but she won on her third match point with her 11th ace of the match.

Rybakina stated, "I'm super happy to be in the semi-finals for the first time." Obviously, I was nervous, especially during the previous game, but I'm glad I was able to control my emotions. Today, I played really well."

Although Ostapenko clearly came in second, she did her best Grand Slam performance since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2018, a year after winning Roland Garros.

The winner of Tuesday evening's quarterfinal between third seed Jessica Pegula and twice Melbourne Park champion Victoria Azarenka will face Rybakina, who is ranked 22nd because ranking points were not given out at Wimbledon last year.

She stated, "Absolutely, I'm going to watch it." But at the same time, I need to take a few hours off of tennis to rest my mind before getting ready for another tough match."

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