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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday May 19, 2023

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina reached her biggest clay-court final to date with a straight set takedown of Jelena Ostapenko on Friday in Rome.

Photo Source: Getty

Things are getting more and more interesting on the women’s side as Roland-Garros nears.

Tennis Express

We can thank Elena Rybakina for that…

The Kazakh continued her remarkable run of form on Friday at the Foro Italico, taking out Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth career meeting of these hard-hitting rivals, 6-2, 6-4, to reach her biggest clay court final to date.

After cruising through the opening set on Friday evening, Ostapenko got her bearings and raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set. But rains slowed her momentum at 4-2, and eventually Rybakina used the two consecutive rain delays (in the seventh game) as a springboard to a late push that took her past the Latvian.

“Was really tough day overall with all the rain delays,” Rybakina told reporters. “Yeah, just happy to be in the final.” She won 12 of 14 points to take a 5-4 lead, then served out the match, converting her second match point to improve to 27-7 on the season. Rybakina has been impressive on all continents in 2023. The Kazakh became just the third woman to reach the final at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome in Open Era history.

Rybakina, who defeated World No.1 Iga Swiatek via retirement in the quarterfinal, will bid for her second WTA 1000 title and her fifth overall on Saturday against Anhelina Kalinina.

Kalinina leads the pair’s head to head 1-0, but the friendship is even – it’s mutual.

“She's really good person,” Rybakina said of Kalinina. “Actually she used to work with my coach. We just have good relationship. I always cheer for her also. Same, whenever I win, she's always supporting. We have good relationship. “I'm happy that we're going to play final.”


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