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Elena Rybakina's projected path to Wimbledon 2024 final

Published at :June 30, 2024 at 6:44 AM
Modified at :June 30, 2024 at 6:44 AM
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Mohammed Fazeel

Elena Rybakina and Gauff headed for a possible first meeting since 2022.

Despite Elena Rybakina having to deal with health woes all through the 2024 season, she has reached five finals and won three of them. Rybakina’s five championship-round appearances place her on par with Iga Swiatek.

The second seed is the only player on the WTA tour among the top five with a winning head-to-head (4-2) against the current World No. #1. She is also the only player with a win in 2024 against Swiatek among the top five, barring Jessica Pegula, who is yet to cross paths with the four-time Grand Slam title holder.

Only one exit has come before the quarter-final stage for Rybakina, which was in January in Melbourne. On the flip side, the Kazakh withdrew from Dubai and recently from Berlin due to illness. She did not turn up in Rome to defend her title for the same reason.

Elena Rybakina’s path to the Venus Rosewater dish is a mixed bag. She should get past the early stages of the campaign without much difficulty. From the fourth round is where the real challenge could begin for the 2022 Wimbledon champion.

ALSO READ: Elena Rybakina arrives at Wimbledon amid illness concerns

First Round: Elena-Gabriela Ruse

An easy opening round beckons Elena Rybakina against Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania. In their only previous meeting, Rybakina made short work of Ruse in Miami 2022 with a straight-set win in the second round. The 26-year-old Romanian is yet to open her account at Wimbledon, having made first-round exits in all three attempts.

Second Round: Laura Siegemund

Next up for a Rybakina is a potential second-round clash with Laura Siegemund. The World No. #4 dominates Siegmund with a 4-1 head-to-head, the only loss to the 36-year-old German coming in 2021 in Doha. Siegmund’s best performance at Grand Slams was the round of eight at Roland Garros in 2020. In Wimbledon, it remains the second round in 2019. 

Third Round: Leylah Fernandez

The 21-year-old from Canada, Leylah Fernandez. is a promising young player. Fernandez made the US Open final in 2021, just a year after her tour-level debut. She also reached the last eight in Roland Garros the following year. Fernandez, a World No. #30. also reached the quarterfinals in Qatar this year.

Fernandez and Rybakina’s rivalry is just one match old and was played on the hard courts of Doha this year. The Kazakh got past Fernandez without much fuss, winning in straight sets.

Fourth Round: Anna Kalinskaya

Rybakina and Kalinskaya are evenly matched in their head-to-head, winning two apiece. Their first face-off was in 2019, followed by three matches played in 2023. Their last encounter in the third round at Rome ended in Kalinskaya’s retirement in the eighth game of the second set.

Kalinskaya made her quarter-final debut in Melbourne this year, going on to add championship-round appearances in Berlin and Dubai. The Russian put up spirited performances at all three events, even getting the better of Swiatek in Dubai and two-time Wimbledon semifinalist Victoria Azarenka to her first two finals in 2024.

Quarterfinals: Ons Jabeur

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur leads Elena Rybakina 3-2 in their head-to-head. Their previous two meetings have been at Wimbledon in 2022 and 2023. Rybakina ended Jabeur’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title in the 2022 final, and Jabeur returned the favour in the 2023 quarterfinals at SW19.  The Tunisian fell out of the WTA top five in April last year and is currently at World No. #10.

The three-time major finalist continues on her quest for a big win on the WTA Tour. She reached three Grand Slam finals in the space of two years — New York (2022) and London (2022, 2023). 

The Tunisian is comfortable on grass and has reached the last eight at Nottingham and Berlin. She also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros but lost to Coco Gauff. Jabeur is 16-3 since 2021 at Wimbledon, while Rybakina is at 14-2 in the same period with the added advantage of a title run.

Semifinals: Iga Swiatek

Swiatek, happily perched as the World No. #1 for 109 weeks and counting, will likely be Rybakina’s rival in the last four as the Kazakh looks for a repeat of the 2022 result. A second Grand Slam has been elusive for Rybakina, though she came close in Melbourne in 2023 before faltering in the title round against Aryna Sabalenka.

While Swiatek is very much the ‘Queen of Clay,’ thanks to a flood of clay court titles, including four wins at Roland Garros, three of them on the trot.

ALSO READ: Iga Swiatek’s projected path to Wimbledon 2024 final

Rybakina ended Swiatek’s reign at Stuttgart it was the win that gave the Kazakh a 4-2 lead against the World No. #1. The loss denied Swiatek a hat-trick of titles at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Rybakina looks well placed to deny the pole a rare simultaneous Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles should they meet in the last four.

Finals: Coco Gauff/Aryna Sabalenka

Both of Elena Rybakina’s possible opponents in the finals have an edge over her. Rybakina is 0-1 against Gauff and 3-6 against Sabalenka. It could, however, be advantage Rybakina should the meeting in the finals materialise. 

A meeting in the final with Sabalenka will be a rematch from Adelaide where Rybakina won in straight sets. It is one of four finals that Sabalenka reached including Melbourne, where she mounted a successful title defence. She lost Madrid while on matchpoint against Swiatek. Two weeks later, the Belarusian suffered another loss against the Pole, this time in Rome.

In Paris, the World No. #3 lost to Mirra Andreeva and retired when playing Anna Kalinskaya in the last eight at Berlin.

Coco Gauff is likely to be more of a threat to Rybakina, having made two Grand Slam semifinals. However, while strong on other surfaces, Gauff is yet to make a mark in the grass-court major. Two round of 16 appearances in 2019 and 2021 reflect her best efforts at the venue. At the Berlin Ladies Open warm-up event, Gauff made the semifinals, but could not find a way past compatriot and eventual winner, Jessica Pegula.

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