In the final that started at 11 pm, Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine retired early into the second set and handed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan the victory at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The world No.47 Kalinina took the lead from the get-go by securing a break as Rybakina double faulted and solidified her advantage to go 2-0 up. The seventh-seeded Rybakina managed to regain momentum by earning a break back in the sixth game, leveling the match. Demonstrating her prowess, the reigning Wimbledon champion then secured a flawless love hold, earning her first lead of the match at 4-3.
Despite Rybakina’s 40-0 lead on Kalinina’s serve, she was unable to secure the break and go up 5-3. However, in Kalinina’s subsequent service game, Rybakina successfully managed to do so and closed out the set with a score of 6-4 as the clock was approaching midnight.
With Rybakina leading 1-0 in the second set, Kalinina started crying because she could barely stand on her left leg. This was a heartbreaking situation for the 26-year-old who was playing her first WTA 1000 final.
This is Rybakina’s second WTA title in 2023, adding to her previous triumph at the BNP Paribas Open. The win also represents her fifth career title. The victory will ascend the Kazakhstani to the Top 5 for the first time, to position No.4. Kalinina will rise to a career-high ranking of No.25. (photos: Jimmie48)
I’m a big Iga fan, but I was impressed by how cool and composed Elena is during and after each match she wins — or loses. She comes across as a very nice lady, the way others describe her. So I’m happy she’s moved to #4 now and solidifies the upcoming battles with Iga (and Sabalenka) for bragging rights.
jim scbrupp, I completely agree with you! Elena is not only an incredibly talented player but also a remarkable person. Her composure on and off the court is truly admirable. It’s fascinating to see how she maintains her cool, regardless of the outcome of each match. Remember that Kokkinakis called her “the nicest girl ever”? https://womenstennisblog.com/2023/03/20/kokkinakis-rybakina-nicest-girl-ever/