Italian Open: Elena Rybakina wins Rome final as Anhelina Kalinina retires injured

May 20, 2023  -BBC News-Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina clinched her fourth WTA title with victory in the Italian Open as Anhelina Kalinina retired with a leg injury.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina was leading 6-4 1-0 when her Ukrainian opponent, who had strapping on her left leg, retired in tears after 65 minutes.

It was Rybakina’s third walkover victory of the tournament in Rome.

The win gives the 23-year-old a top-four seeding at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros on 28 May.

The final got off to a late start as rain backed up play on centre court for most of the day.

Playing in her first WTA 1,000 final, Kalinina got off to a quick start – breaking Rybakina in the opening game and holding her own serve to take a 2-0 lead.

But world number six Rybakina broke back to level the scores at 3-3, and despite her opponent saving four break points in the eighth game, broke again to take the first set 6-4 before Kalinina retired one game into the second.

“I’m really sorry that I couldn’t play. I was trying to do my best,” Kalinina, 26, said in her post-match interview.

“Congratulations for the title and everything you have done this year, it’s really inspiring and hopefully I can get to your level someday.”

Rybakina is the third player in the Open era to reach finals at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome in the same season.

Monica Seles achieved the feat in 1991, before Maria Sharapova followed suit in 2012.

  • Live scores, results and order of play
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Medvedev to face Rune in Sunday’s final

In the men’s semi-finals on Saturday, Daniil Medvedev defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in a rain-disrupted encounter while Holger Rune fought back from a set and a break down to beat Norway’s Casper Ruud.

Russia’s Medvedev, who had not won a match in Rome before this year, triumphed 7-5 7-5 after play was suspended twice because of rain.

Medvedev took advantage of Tsitsipas surrendering a 40-0 lead at 5-5 and eventually took the first set.

The players traded breaks in the second, but Medvedev, who is hunting a fifth ATP title of the year, moved in front again after the 11th game and held serve to claim victory,

In the other semi-final, French Open and US Open runner-up Ruud claimed a tight first set before taking a 4-2 lead in the second.

However, a medical timeout by Rune for a minor shoulder problem seemed to disrupt Ruud’s rhythm and the 20-year-old Dane broke back twice to force a decider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *