This year has been really good for the Kazakhstani player because she already has one trophy in her bag, and she's pretty close to making another final. The Australian Open was a huge letdown, but she seems to be over that now.
Rybakina had match points in her second-round loss, multiple match points, but ultimately couldn't get it done. The redemption is happening this week in Abu Dhabi, and the Kazakhstani player looks really good.
She's been by far the best-performing player so far this week, but we'll see what happens when she faces Samsonova, a really good player in her own right.
Any time you play a semi-final against a good player, it will be a really tough battle, especially at a WTA 500 tournament. When it comes to this specific matchup, we have already seen it a few times, and it's been pretty one-sided.
Now, you might think it's Rybakina who dominated, but you'd be wrong; it's actually Samsonova. She has won all four of their matches so far, with the last two coming in the semi-finals, just like this one.
This is a great matchup for the Russian but will she win a fifth consecutive match against Rybakina? That's the question.
I think that Samsonova won't win a fifth consecutive match against Rybakina. It mostly comes down to how both performed this week, and I've been a bit more impressed with Rybakina.
The conditions work really well for both, and it will be a tough match, but I think Rybakina will pull through this time around. She's the more consistent hitter from the baseline, though I think Samsonova, at her peak, can be more devastating.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in three sets.