Sabalenka Completes Insane Comeback To Outlast Rybakina In Madrid Open Thriller

Sabalenka Completes Insane Comeback To Outlast Rybakina In Madrid Open Thriller

by Erik Virostko

Aryna Sabalenka completed an incredible comeback to beat Elena Rybakina in the semi-final of the 2024 Madrid Open.

There weren't many other semi-final matches that fans in Madrid could see that would be more interesting than the one that fans in the Spanish capital got to see between the world no. 2 and 4.

If there were some more attractive combinations, they probably included Iga Swiatek, and the Polish player made sure that also one of those matchups will happen, as she reached the final of the Madrid Open, awaiting the winner of the clash between Sabalenka and Rybakina.

The two have a long history, even playing for a Grand Slam title against each other, but funnily enough, this match at the WTA 1000 tournament in Madrid was their first on the clay court.

It came at the event that benefits players with good serves because of the altitude, so it's not surprising that they met at La Caja Magica. Entering the match, the Belarusian was eyeing to keep her winning run in Madrid, as she won the trophy last year.

On the other hand, Rybakina had a streak of her own, as she won the Italian Open in Rome last year, and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix this year, meaning her last loss on the red dirt came at the Madrid Open last year.

Despite Sabalenka being the defending champion, early on the match looked like an affair that wouldn't make the ticket holders their money worth, as the Kazakhstani player won the first set 6-1 in only 25 minutes.

With the match barely entering the second hour, Rybakina was leading already 6-1 and 4-2, and despite losing the one-break advantage in the second set, she broke her opponent's serve again to serve for the match at 6-1, 5-4.

But Sabalenka found something, she got fired up, and started painting the lines at the Manolo Santana Stadium, turning around the second set by winning three consecutive games, and sending the match into the decider after winning the set 7-5.

The third set was the closest of all, and it seemed that there wouldn't be even any break points on offer. However, Rybakina was able to pressure her opponent in the eleventh game, but despite having two chances to break, she couldn't use them, and the match had to be decided in a tie-break.

Sabalenka started it better, earning an important mini-break on her opponent's first serve, and when Rybakina served a 1-4 in an attempt to stay in the match, the Belarusian made a bold call to challenge her first serve, which was indeed out by the tiniest margins.

She then ripped a backhand return down-the-line, earning her second mini-break, and that was a lead that the defending champion couldn't lose, winning the match 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) to set up the final match with the top-seeded Iga Swiatek.


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