Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan won her first WTA 1000 title in Indian Wells on Sunday. In the two-week tournament, the 23-year-old only dropped one set. In the final, she beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(11) 6-4.
Rybakina had lost all previous encounters against Sabalenka in three sets. With this win, the reigning Wimbledon champion moves up three spots to world No.7 in the WTA rankings.
In a tight first set, the tenth-seeded Rybakina had her first set point up 6-5, but Sabalenka held. In the tiebreak, the second-seeded Sabalenka had set points at 7 and 11, but her opponent persevered finally on her sixth match point. The set was a disappointing one for the WTA race leader, who double-faulted 10 times in that set alone, compared to only 7 double faults in their entire previous match-up in the Australian Open final.
In the second set, Rybakina took a quick lead, starting off with a break of serve at love and moving up to 5-2. Sabalenka fought hard, broke, but could not keep up the offense, even with her first serve percentage improving drastically from 46% in the first set to 73% in the second. The eventual winner was always able to get that one extra point back and keep it inside the lines.