Rybakina Avoids Surprising Defeat To Putintseva With Hard-Fought Win In Madrid

Rybakina Avoids Surprising Defeat To Putintseva With Hard-Fought Win In Madrid

by Zachary Wimer

Elena Rybakina was favoured to win against Yulia Putintseva at the 2024 Madrid Open, but she barely did as she needed a heroic late comeback.

Two Kazakhstani players squared up in Madrid for a spot in the semi-final, and the younger Rybakina won. Rybakina was on a seven-match winning streak before this match but once again ran into problems against her compatriot.

What's interesting about this matchup is that Putintseva won both previous matches against Rybakina, so this was the first time Rybakina actually beat her compatriot. It's a pretty important win both because of how it happened and because it's for a semi-final.

The struggle against Putintseva makes sense because she tends to feature a lot of variety in her game, which doesn't suit Rybakina that well. She likes to play against baseliners, where she can trade blows without moving too much other than laterally.

That's not the case against Putintseva, who moves opponents around quite a bit and combines deep and shallow shots to move them back and forth. Rybakina struggled with that today because it rarely allowed her to find a really good rhythm.

She lost the first set 4-6, mostly because she wasn't that sharp when she got a chance. She failed to convert her chances while her opponent did. At the start of the second set, Rybakina lost her serve, but she broke back and found herself up 3-2. That set progressed normally after that, and we ended up in a tiebreak.

It was mostly played better by Rybakina, who ultimately won it 7-4, keeping herself in the match. She couldn't keep it up, though, as she lost her serve midway through the 3rd set, which was seemingly it.

It wasn't as Rybakina broke at 5-3 and then held for the 5-5 score. She then broke once more for the 6-5 lead and held her serve for the 7-5 third-set finish. The final score was 4-6 7-6(4) 7-5 as Rybakina moves on to the semi-final with a remarkable late comeback.


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