Former world number one and 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who gained a whole load of confidence after defeating compatriot Danielle Collins, faced yet another challenge in the form of Elena Rybakina in the French Open fourth round today.
Elena Rybakina stunned Serena Williams to clinch the first set
The young Kazakh player has shown tremendous improvement on the WTA tour and the matchup against Serena at Roland Garros is an opportunity for Rybakina to prove her mettle.
In fact, she did prove to be a tough nut to crack for the American in the first set. Twelve minutes into the set, the youngster raced to a 4-1 lead and didn’t allow Serena to play her usual, dominant tennis.
Before the American found her rhythm, Elena Rybakina walked away with the first set in an emphatic manner. Barring four double faults, the Kazakh player confused Serena with her aggressive baseline and a commanding net play. Rybakina won every point that she played at the net.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 6, 2021
By the end of the first set, it’s clear that there was a lot of work needed to be done by the legendary Serena Williams to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals.
Serena failed to launch an all-round attack against Rybakina in the second
In the second set, both players exchanged breaks of serve a couple of times. But, Serena’s baseline game saw a huge improvement as she began to disrupt the Kazakh’s momentum.
But, Rybakina didn’t bother to bat an eye to the shift in momentum and continued to work on her return game. While she didn’t have to focus much on the return due to an early lead in the first set, the youngster had better return games in the second.
On the other hand, Serena Williams couldn’t sustain her good level for longer periods in the set. But, the American broke Rybakina’s serve in the tenth game when the latter was serving for the match at 5-4.
To everybody’s surprise, the former world number one lost her serve in the immediate game, and gave a second opportunity for Rybakina to serve for the match. The young Kazakh didn’t miss out on this chance as she sailed through the American 6-3,7-5, in an hour and 17 minutes to reach her maiden French Open quarter-finals.