Elena Rybakina reigns supreme, advances to Indian Wells semis

Wimbledon champion Elina Rybakina reaches Indian Wells semi-finals. AFP

INDIAN WELLS: Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated 76th-ranked Karolina Muchova 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA and ATP Masters 1000 on Thursday. Accessed. Indian Wells.

Rybakina, runner-up Arina Sabalenka At the Australian Open in January, she could handle everything from the oft-injured Mochuva, who also reached the quarter-finals in Dubai last month but had to withdraw with an abdominal injury.

She took advantage as Mochuva’s serve slowed in the final set but needed three match points to end it, with backhand errors squandering two as Mochuva held serve in the closing game.

Rybakina then fell behind 0-30 on her serve, but polished it off with her sixth ace of the day after two hours and 45 minutes.

“It was a really tough match today,” Rybakina said. “I served a lot better in the third. I didn’t start so well, I was a bit slower than usual.

“I played well in the important moments,” added Rybakina, who next faces world number one and defending champion Iga Svetec or 83rd-ranked Romania’s Sorana Cirstia.

Svitek, winner of the French and US Opens last year, is looking to become only the second woman to win back-to-back titles, after Martina Navratilova in 1990 and ’91. Indian Wells Title.

Rybakina is one of three players to beat Switek this year, having stunned the Polish star in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

Mochova took an early advantage as Rybakina struggled to continue her big serve, breaking the Moscow-born Kazakh for a 3-2 lead in the opening set.

Rybakina had chances, but failed to convert her first five break points against the Czech.

But a bad error from Mochuva, who stopped an easy overhead at a set point in the 10th game, gave Rybakina an opening. She went on to break and hold to love for a 6-5 lead, but was also unable to convert a set point.

Mochuva took control of the tiebreaker by force, but eventually surrendered the set with a whimper when Rybakina double-faulted on the second set point.

Undaunted, the Czech stormed into the second set without facing a break point. She broke Rybakina en route to a quick 3-0 lead and broke her again in the final game to force a third.

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