Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve



By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, May 25, 2024
Reigning Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek is the world's most dominant clay-court champion.

Yet when it comes to toughest opponents, the world No. 1 is second to one for Elena Rybakina.

Roland Garros Men's Draw: Top 5 Takeaways

The top-seeded Swiatek carries an imposing 77-10 career clay-court record into her Roland Garros title defense, including a superb 14-1 clay mark this season capturing back-to-back WTA 1000 championships in Madrid and Rome.

Swiatek's lone loss on dirt came to Rybakina in Stuttgart.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina says world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, not four-time major champion Swiatek, is her toughest opponent on the WTA Tour.

"I would say Aryna [is my toughest opponent]," Rybakina told the media in Paris today. "We play a lot of tough matches, and she's very aggressive. She has good power.

"And with Iga I feel like I have more dominant in the, just, game by my power over Iga. With Aryna, it's tougher."

Head-to-head records support Rybakina's stance.

Overall, Rybakina has won four of six meetings vs. Swiatek.

Two-time Australian Open champion Sabalenka is 6-3 vs. Rybakina, including edging her rival 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in a pulsating Madrid semifinal earlier this month. Sabalenka fought off Rybakina to win her maiden major title at the 2023 Australian Open.

The 24-year-old Rybakina denied 11 of 13 break points in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 triumph to snap Swiatek’s 10-match Stuttgart winning streak and reach her fifth final of the season at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last month.

It was Rybakina's fifth career victory over a reigning world No. 1 with four of those wins coming against rival Swiatek.

Now, Rybakina has beaten the Roland Garros champion twice in a row on her favorite surface.

Beating the world's best on her best surfaces infuses Rybakina with confidence ahead of Roland Garros, where here best result is a quarterfinal appearance in 2021. Rybakina swept Serena Williams in the 2021 French Open round of 16.

"Yeah, of course, it gives me a lot of confidence," said of her winning record vs. Swiatek. "As I always say, I think I improve every year, every tournament.

"Of course these wins against Iga, it gives you confidence."

The fourth-ranked Rybakina went on to win Stuttgart becoming the first woman to reach five finals in the first four months of the season since former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in 2012.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty