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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, February 15, 2020

 
Elana Rybakina

Elena Rybakina blazed through 10 of the last 12 games firing into her third final of the year with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 conquest of Maria Sakkari in the St. Petersburg semifinals.

Photo credit: Formula_TX Facebook St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy

The hottest player on the WTA Tour continued her torrid tear today.

Elena Rybakina blazed through 10 of the last 12 games firing into her third final of the year with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 conquest of Maria Sakkari in the St. Petersburg semifinals.

King: "No Brainer" To Allow Coaching From Stands

The Moscow-born baseliner raised her record to a Tour-best 15-2 charging into her first St. Petersburg final.



The eighth-seeded Rybakina will face defending champion Kiki Bertens in tomorrow's final.

The second-seeded Bertens beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 denying the 28th-ranked Alexandrova's bid to become the first Russian St. Petersburg finalist.

It was Bertens' seventh straight St. Petersburg win as she moved within one victory of defending a WTA title for the second time in her career. The lone Dutchwoman in the draw improved to 4-1 vs. Top 30 opponents this season.

The 20-year-old Rybakina is playing for her third career title, including her second this season. The heavy-hitting Rybakina won Hobart last month after reaching the Shenzhen final where she fell to Alexandrova in straight sets.

Empowered by her upset of top-seeded Swiss Belinda Bencic in yesterday's quarterfinals, Sakkari relied on her court coverage and consistency breaking three times to take the opening set on a run of eight straight points.

Resetting, Rybakina broke to start the second set.

The sixth-seeded Sakkari wrapped a pair of love holds around her fourth break for a 4-3 lead. Sakkari held for 5-4 and was four points from the final.

Then Rybakina began ripping the ball with even more authority. Pushing the Greek back behind the baseline, Rybakina reeled off four games in a row to force the decider.

Sakkari held for 1-all, but could not cope with the heavy drives Rybakina crashed into the corners. The world No. 25 streaked through the final five games to close in one hour, 54 minutes.



Rybakina, who saved match points in her quarterfinal comeback over 159th-ranked Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin, scored her 36th win in her last 46 matches today. Rybakina rocketed more than 150 ranking spots in the past year.

"I will say it is all about experience," Rybakina told the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy website. "When you play juniors, you have no game plan. Many juniors give up ahead of time.

"On the WTA Tour you go out for every match against top players. It becomes more difficult to play, no one gives you anything for nothing, they do not make simple errors."

Tennis Express

The woman who began her junior career at the famed Spartak Club in Moscow, raised her record in semifinals to 5-2.


 

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