Rybakina wins first clay WTA 1000 title

ROME, ITALY - Elena Rybakina(KAZ) has powered to her first WTA 1000 title on clay, with her breakthrough at Rome's Foro Italico demonstrating that the Yonex ambassador will be a strong contender at Roland-Garros. 


Over the last 12 months, the Kazakhstani has shown that she is a force on any surface, landing a first Grand Slam title on the Wimbledon grass last July before taking a first WTA 1000 title with her hard-court victory in Indian Wells in March this year. 


While Rybakina would not have wanted the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia to have finished the way it did - she was leading 6-4, 1-0 when Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina retired with a thigh injury - this was otherwise ideal preparation for Roland-Garros. Rybakina defeated two former Roland-Garros champions in Rome with victories over World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals and Jelena Ostapenko in the last four. 


After becoming the first woman to take two WTA 1000 titles this season, Rybakina broke into the top 5, which will give her a higher seeding at Roland-Garros, which starts in Paris on Sunday. She also moves ever closer to her dream of becoming the World No. 1. 


History has flowed from Rybakina's Yonex racquet this season as she is only the third woman in the Open Era to play in the finals of the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome in the same season, after Monica Seles in 1991 and Maria Sharapova in 2012. 


Now a threat on all surfaces, Rybakina has already won 28 matches this season, the same number as Swiatek, and only one behind World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. "With my game, I can play [well] on all the surfaces. It's just for clay I need to be ready more physically and have a lot of preparation, which I don't always have the time for after the hard-court season," Rybakina said after winning the fifth title of her career. "Of course, I am happy with the title, but it wasn't the way I wanted to finish the match." 


Rybakina's serve, which is so effective on grass and hard courts, is also proving to be a weapon on clay. She served 32 aces during the tournament, taking her total for the season so far to 278, more than any other woman. 


Road to the title

Round of 64: def. Jasmine Paolini 7-6(4), 6-1. 

Round of 32: def. Anna Kalinskaya 4-3 retired. 

Round of 16: def. Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-3. 

Quarter-final: def. Iga Swiatek 2-6, 7-6(3), 2-2 retired. 

Semi-final: def. Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4. 

Final: def. Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 1-0 retired. 


Rybakina’s gear

Racquet: VCORE 100[LINK]


Bag: Pro Series Racquet Bag

Overgrip: Super Grap


Kalinina’s gear

Racquet: VCORE 100[LINK]




Overgrip: Super Grap


Photo by AFLO