In a display of her undeniable qualities, 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina toppled world no. 1 Iga Swiatek at the 2023 Indian Wells.
The Kazakh won with a commanding 6-2, 6-2 victory, paving her way to the tournament final. After already showing her qualities last year but also this season, Rybakina's stunning performance against Swiatek has sparked newfound confidence in her abilities, as she now believes she can take on any competitor in the world.
Reflecting on her performance, she shared that there were moments when she played at her highest level, which bolstered her belief in her potential to beat anyone in the world. While acknowledging that it's impossible to feel perfect during every match, Rybakina emphasized her satisfaction with her extraordinary performance against Swiatek.
"With Iga, she's tough, really tough opponent, but when I play this good and everything goes in. Because today some moments I played, I would say, on my highest level -- [these are] moments where you can feel, OK, I can beat anyone if I always play like this. But it's the goal, you never feel amazing and perfect every match. I think today it was just really good from me."
The key to her success, Rybakina believes, lies in her ability to maintain her composure during critical moments and hold her serve. She admits that some of her past losses were a result of giving away crucial points, but she remains optimistic that this victory will help change the tide in her favor.
"I think [the key will be] just to play better in these important moments and hold the serve, because I think a few times it was just because of one break. It's gonna be not an easy match, and it's gonna be in these clutch moments I just need to play better. Hopefully now it's gonna change the score between us."
Despite the high stakes, Rybakina entered the match against Swiatek without any pressure, focusing on enjoying the game and giving her best effort. This mindset paid off, as she played "one of the best matches this year," according to her own assessment.
With her eyes set on the Indian Wells final, Rybakina hopes to channel the same level of skill and self-assurance that led to her triumphant victory over Swiatek. In the final, she will meet Aryna Sabalenka, the same opponent that stopped her in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
"I would say I didn't expect that I was going to play that good today. Yesterday was a really tough match. I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to come and enjoy and it really went my way. I played really one of the best matches this year. I was really pleased with the game and hopefully, I'm going to play like this on Sunday."