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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 30, 2023

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina reached the Miami final with a hard-fought win over Jessica Pegula on Thursday night in Miami.

Photo Source: Matthew Calvis

Elena Rybakina has had to battle through adversity on several occasions at this year’s Miami Open. Her quest for the Sunshine Double has been far from easy, as she went three sets in her first two matches and even found herself down match point against Paula Badosa in the third round.

Tennis Express

It hasn’t been pure perfection for the 23-year-old, but when crunch time hits, Rybakina has been at her best, time and time again.

The theme for her 2023 Miami Open has most definitely been: resilience.

That theme held true on Thursday night as Rybakina capped off the night session by battling past No.3-seeded Jessica Pegula, 7-6(3), 6-4 to reach the final. The Kazakh, who is riding a career-best 13-match winning streak, found herself down by a break three times in the opening set but managed to find a way through, winning it in a tiebreak that was interrupted by rain.

The second set wasn’t much different. After another rain delay, Rybakina found herself down 3-0 but reeled off six of the final seven games to finish her fifth consecutive Top 5 win in one hour and 29 minutes.

“Difficult match today, and actually, the whole two weeks were really tough,” the 2022 Wimbledon champ said. “Happy to be in another final.”

It’s not just another final – if Rybakina can defeat either Petra Kvitova or Sorana Cirstea in Saturday’s women’s singles final at Miami, she will become the fifth woman in history to lock down the Sunshine Double.

“It's really difficult, and because of different conditions in these two weeks by the matches you could see that it's much more difficult for me here than even in Indian Wells,” Rybakina admitted after her win. “The final still [seems] close but the same time far. The Sunshine Double I try my best, and hopefully I can make it.”

Riding the Ace Train

Though she was uncharacteristically broken five times against Pegula, Rybakina hit the 10-ace mark for the fifth consecutive match. She’s the first WTA player to achieve that feat since Serena Williams in 2016, according to Opta Sports.


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