Why Elena Rybakina Is On Course To Achieve Super Rare Feat At Indian Wells

Why Elena Rybakina Is On Course To Achieve Super Rare Feat At Indian Wells

by Nurein Ahmed

Elena Rybakina is the defending champion at this year's Indian Wells Open and is seeking to win her third WTA title of 2024.

The big-serving Kazakh is one of the favorites to leave the desert with the crystal sculpture, but she will need to defy the odds, aching limbs, and the weight of history to lift the trophy for a second time.

The reason why Rybakina is on course to achieve a rare feat at Indian Wells is pretty straightforward. There has not been a successful title defense at this tournament (women's) since the third edition of the event back in 1991.

Former World No. 1 Martina Navratilova went back-to-back at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Navratilova did not add to her trophy collection from Indian Wells after that success 33 years ago, but she remains, to date, the only woman to retain her crown in California.

Two players have come close in the past 15 years, with Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova each making at least back-to-back finals but only emerging with one trophy.

That is the magnitude of Rybakina's assignment after becoming the first Kazakh to win a WTA 1000 title last spring. She played terrific tennis during the fortnight, beating former champions Paula Badosa and Iga Swiatek before exacting revenge on Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

If there is a woman capable of rewriting the history books, you would have to give the ink to Rybakina. She is in great form heading to Indian Wells. The 24-year-old is a double champion in 2024 and the only woman to contest three finals (she lost the Qatar Open final to Swiatek after winning Brisbane and Abu Dhabi).

With 17 match wins under her belt, no WTA player comes close to matching Rybakina's tally for the year. And at Indian Wells, the prospect of going back-to-back is very much a possibility.


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