The Manila Times

Rybakina, Sabalenka march on in Miami

MIAMI: Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 11 matches as she booked her place in the Miami Open quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belgium’s Elise Mertens on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) while world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka powered past Barbora Krejcíkova in straight sets.

But there was agony for Canadian former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu, who had to be wheelchaired off court after suffering a left ankle injury and retiring against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Rybakina is looking to complete the “Sunshine Double” after her triumph in Indian Wells, but she was far from euphoric after her victory.

“Physically I’m not the freshest, but I’m happy that I’m managing and finding my way. To be in a quarterfinal is great and hopefully I’m going to play better,” she said.

The Kazakh allowed Mertens to break in the sixth game of the first set but then two double faults from the Belgian allowed Rybakina to swiftly break back and then she struck again to take the opening set.

The Wimbledon champion broke early in the second set and never looked back and she will now face Italian Martina Trevisan in the quarters.

Trevisan beat former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3.

Sabalenka looked in ominous form as she blasted her way to victory over Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open winner, 6-3, 6-2.

Krejcikova had ended Sabalenka’s 13-match win streak in February in Dubai but Sabalenka defeated the Czech two weeks ago at Indian Wells.

This time Sabalenka took just 65 minutes to take care of business, going unbroken in the match and facing just one break point.

The Belarusian lost just 10 points on her serve and will start as a strong favorite on Wednesday against Romanian Sorana Cristea.

Andreescu’s return to form was cut brutally short when she suffered a left ankle injury in her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

While attempting a return, Andreescu injured the ankle, collapsing to the court as she yelled in pain.

After receiving medical attention on court she was lifted into a wheelchair and taken off court in tears.

The 22-year-old, who won the US Open in 2019 but then missed all of 2020 due to injury, returned to the circuit last April after a sixmonth break.

In Miami she has looked very much back to her best with wins over Emma Raducanu, Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin.

American Jessica Pegula looked comfortable and in command of her game as she beat Poland’s Magda Linette 6-1, 7-5.





The Manila Times