Elena Rybakina Defeats Jelena Ostapenko To Reach Italian Open Final | Tennis
The seventh seed Elena Rybakina beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 in a rain-delayed semi-final at the Italian Open and will play Anhelina Kalinina in Saturday’s final in Rome.
Rybakina prevailed in a straightforward first set after the match was delayed by more than an hour, and then interrupted by more rain. Ostapenko gained momentum in the second set and took a 3-0 lead, but Rybakina had closed the gap at 4-2 when rain briefly forced the players off court.
Rybakina was leading 40-15 in the game when play was suspended once more but the Kazakh player came out on top on the resumption, rallying to win five games in a row to seal the victory.
“It was a really tough day overall, with all the rain delays. I’m just happy to be in the final,” Rybakina said. “I didn’t start that well the second set. A bit low on energy, lost my serve. So it was difficult. Then a few good shots from [Ostapenko], good serves. It changed very quickly. I’m happy that physically I can maintain and stay so long in the tournament until the end.”
In her third WTA 1000 final of the season, Rybakina will face the 30th seed Kalinina, after the Ukrainian survived a second-set scare against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in a battling 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 victory.
Kudermetova started strongly, but the tables turned as the Russian failed to convert eight out of nine break points in the first set, with her 26-year-old opponent capitalising on her wastefulness to edge ahead.
Kalinina broke early in the second set to take a 3-2 lead and appeared on course for a comfortable win, but with her back against the wall Kudermetova mounted a spirited comeback, winning 16 straight points to level the match.
Kalinina headed off for a lengthy bathroom break to regroup before the third set and emerged a player reborn, playing with renewed confidence to win the first four games of the decider on the way to sealing a spot in her first WTA 1000 final.