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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Rybakina’s breakthrough is Kazakhstan’s breakthrough


It was a glorious battle in which two young tennis players clashed with powerful serves – one of the most powerful on the Tour.

A very tense hard fight was going on for every point, for every game, set, and Sobolenko turned out to be a little better, a little more accurate.

It was a really well deserved victory for the Belarusian athlete. However, Rybakina will surely get another chance for revenge.

The two tennis players from different parts of the grid quickly and correctly walked towards each other. Sobolenko did not drop a single set in the six matches before the final, Rybakina lost only one set in the match with American Danielle Collins in the third round.

In the semifinals, Elena defeated Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) – 7:6 (7:4), 6:3. Sobolenko confidently defeated Magda Linett (Poland) – 7: 6 (7: 1), 6: 2.

Both tennis players are at their peak. Both are great. Elena’s height is 184 centimeters, Arina’s is 182. Of course, there are differences, but in general, Sobolenko and Rybakina seemed equal rivals. And it was hard to give preference to anyone.

Rybakina started the encounter with confidence, while her opponent was clearly worried. No less than five double faults in the first set were committed by Sobolenko, and there were seven in total in the match.

This allowed Rybakina to take someone else’s serve, leading 3:1, but Sobolenko was not going to give up and tied the score – 4:4. However, at the end of the set, Rybakina acted perfectly and won it with the score 6:4. A great start for the Kazakh tennis player!

However, in the second set, Elena’s game went wrong. The first serve didn’t go well and the win percentage on the second was very low. And the second set went to Sobolenko – 6:3.

The third set kept tennis players, coaches and fans spellbound from start to finish. Sobolenko confidently held his serve, took someone else’s. But Elena fought for every bullet. Each match contained so many dramatic ups and downs that it would be enough for an entire meeting.

In the penultimate match, Rybakina collected two match points, in the last more, but in the end capitulated – 6: 4, 3: 6, 4: 6. The match lasted 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Last year, in the Wimbledon final, Rybakina rebounded, losing a set against Uns Jabir of Tunisia. Now everything has reversed.

Arina, congratulations on the title, here and in Adelaide, it’s been a great start to the season, Rybakina said at the awards ceremony. I know how you and your team have worked, so congratulations. Good luck for the rest of the season. I hope we get more of these fights.

Many thanks to the team for the last three or four years as well. Thanks to the family, to the sponsors, to the President of the Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan, who are also there to support us. Thank you to everyone who supported us here today, so I’ll be happy to come back here next year. Thank you to the organizers, to all the volunteers, to the judges, it was two wonderful weeks for me.

And here is what Sobolenko said after the final: “It will take me a few days to understand what happened, to apprehend the victory. I’m not really on this planet right now. I am very happy and proud. I’ve been in the Top 10 for a long time, but I couldn’t win the Slam title. It didn’t work, it was very moving. So now I’m incredibly happy. I feel a lot of joy and relief, I’m proud of myself and the team. It really is the best match of my career. The opponent played incredible tennis. I fought so hard to win. I think it turned out to be great tennis. I am very happy that it was not an easy match. I really enjoyed the fight.”

Arina Sobolenko came back from fifth place in the world rankings to second. Now only Iga Shventek is ahead of her. Rybakina climbed 15 positions to 10th place in the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) rankings. Moreover, if Wimbledon 2022, where points were not awarded due to the lack of players from Russia and Belarus, were included in the rankings, Kazakhstan’s first racket would now be fifth in the world.

Now I have more confidence in myself, even after this final, says Elena Rybakina. I just have to work hard like I did in pre-season and for years. You need to be healthy and the results will come I am sure.

Maybe only a few girls play like Sobolenko. I just knew I had to serve well. The pressure also took its toll. As soon as opportunities presented themselves, I immediately took advantage of them. The game didn’t go the way I wanted.

It was a very powerful game for both of us. I don’t think there were a lot of strong players on the circuit. Maybe it pushes other tennis players to be more aggressive, Australian Open press service Rybakin quotes.

It should be noted that during the tournament, Kazakhstan eliminated three opponents from the grid at once, who won victories in Grand Slam tournaments, the world’s first racket Iga Shventek, Elena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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