Indian Wells: Elena Rybakina beats Aryna Sabalenka to win women’s title

Benjamin Sackey
Benjamin Sackey
2 Min Read

Elena Rybakina avenged her defeat in the Australian Open final by beating Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to win the Indian Wells title.

After a 78-minute opening set, Kazakhstan’s Wimbledon champion Rybakina went on to win 7-6 (13-11) 6-4 for her maiden WTA 1000 triumph.

It marks her first win over the world number two in five attempts.

In January, Belarusian Sabalenka beat Rybakina in three sets in Melbourne to win her first Grand Slam.

Sabalenka had dropped just one set en route to the Indian Wells final – her third this season – but under pressure from 10th seed Rybakina, the serving issues that plagued her last year returned as she hit 10 double faults in the first set alone.

Rybakina, who beat defending champion and world number one Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals, needed six set points – four of which were on her own serve – before she could edge ahead in a lengthy tie-break.

The second set proved a considerably quicker affair, as Moscow-born Rybakina broke Sabalenka’s serve to love in the first game.

After both players saw two break points apiece go begging, Rybakina went a double break up at 5-2 only for her opponent to break back in the next game.

But she served out the victory on her first match point and has risen to a career-high position of seventh in the world rankings.

Rybakina, who missed out on 2,000 ranking points for her Wimbledon triumph last year after the tournament was published for banning Russian and Belarussian players, says “the biggest goal” is to be number one in the world.

In the men’s final, Spanish top seed Carlos Alcaraz beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-2.

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