The high-risk style that makes Wimbledon favourite Elena Rybakina unbeatable


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The time watching Elena Rybakina is short but worth every penny. She is a bundle of entertainment that keeps you engaged throughout.

Rybakina - Figure 1
Photo The Independent

Simply put, when playing on grass, she doesn't enjoy long rallies and instead opts for a fast-paced, high-risk style of play. This means the number of winners and unforced errors can quickly add up. When she's playing well, like when she won Wimbledon in 2022, it's hard to figure out how to defeat her.

Elina Svitolina put in a lot of effort in this quarter-final match, but unfortunately her opponent was hitting winners consistently, especially with her serves which led to a total of 31 aces throughout the tournament. This, along with winning 84% of points on her first serve, resulted in a quick and decisive 6-3, 6-2 victory in just 61 minutes.

Svitolina, a popular Ukrainian player, gave a heartfelt and articulate speech about the war in her homeland after winning in the fourth round. Despite being the favorite among the audience, she was outplayed by Rybakina.

The 29-year-old stated before the game that she was willing to shake hands with her opponent from Moscow, even though she usually does not do so when facing tennis players from Russia or Belarus. This is because Rybakina decided to represent Kazakhstan in 2018. "She switched nationalities, so she no longer wants to play for her original country, so it's fine," Svitolina said.

Rybakina - Figure 2
Photo The Independent

Following the lack of a handshake controversy, it seemed like there might be a lack of excitement when the match began quietly. The news of Alex de Minaur pulling out of the match against Novak Djokovic may have been a letdown for fans, leading to a lackluster atmosphere even as the players exchanged early breaks.

Credit must be given to Rybakina for gradually gaining momentum with her strong hits and assertive tactics. In the first five games, Rybakina made nine impressive shots and only seven mistakes, compared to Svitolina's two winners and one error.

In the next game, the player ranked fourth won without losing any points, making the score 5-3. They easily finished the set by serving an ace, taking only 31 minutes. The second set was even faster, barely lasting an hour. The 2022 champion managed to break her opponent's serve twice, dominating the match. With a total of 26 winners and 15 mistakes, she displayed her aggressive playing style. Svitolina, on the other hand, had only eight winners and eight unforced errors, making it difficult for her to compete.

Right now, it's difficult to argue for anyone other than Rybakina winning the Venus Rosewater Dish for the second time this Saturday, two years after her initial victory. The elimination of most of the other top contenders has greatly improved Rybakina's chances in the women's singles draw.

Rybakina - Figure 3
Photo The Independent

Losses for players like Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Marketa Vondrousova, and Emma Raducanu – along with Aryna Sabalenka pulling out of the tournament before it began – have made Rybakina the top contender. Out of the other three players left, Jasmine Paolini had never won a match on grass until this summer, Donna Vekic reached her first Grand Slam semi-final after 43 attempts, and Barbora Krejcikova made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.

During the interview after the game, Rybakina was asked about being the top choice. She chuckled and said, "Honestly, I'm not a fan of that."

It's about time she starts getting comfortable with it. With a strong background in playing on grass courts compared to the other players left and her game performing at its best, winning a second Wimbledon title seems very achievable for her.

Rybakina is set to compete against Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-final match on Thursday. This comes after Jelena Ostapenko, from Latvia, exhausted herself, giving the opportunity for the Czech player to reach her first semi-final at Wimbledon.

Ostapenko easily defeated her opponents in the women's draw by only losing 15 games in four matches, thanks to her aggressive playing style with many winners. However, as she made more mistakes than usual on Court 1, Krejcikova was able to seize the opportunity and win.

A quick quarter-final match happened with not many long rallies, but Krejcikova was able to win with a score of 6-4 7-6 (4). This sets her up to play against Rybakina in the semi-finals.

"I can't express how I feel," she said with joy. "I was fully focused on the game and gave it my all, and I'm thrilled that I did. This is an incredible moment for me."

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