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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday April 28, 2024

Elena Rybakina

The fourth-ranked Kazakh defeated Egypt's Mayar Sherif for her 14th consecutive win on clay.

Photo Source: Getty

Starting a list of players who have the potential to dethrone three-time champion Iga Swiatek at Roland-Garros? Start with World No.4 Elena Rybakina.

Tennis Express

The 24-year-old, who defeated Swiatek last week in Stuttgart, en route to her third career clay-court title, notched her fourteenth consecutive win on clay on Sunday in Madrid, taking out Mayar Sherif 6-1, 6-4 to reach the round of 16.

Rybakina, who leads the Tour in singles titles (3), finals (5), match wins (28) and aces (213) this season, is now one of just four players to have embarked on a clay-court winning streak of 14 or more since 2000. She joins Serena Williams, Swiatek and Simona Halep on that lofty list.

Rybakina stepped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set against Sherif, but was made to work for her victory after that. The 27-year-old, a former NCAA standout at Pepperdine, made a play for her third career Top 10 win, but couldn’t squeeze past Rybakina in a tight second set.

"I think we played really well in the whole match," Rybakina said of her win. "Despite the score, it was a very tough match. It was a lot of deuces and we both fought a lot. I'm really happy with the performance today."

Rybakina won 22 of 26 first-serve points and saved all three break points she faced against 72nd-ranked Sherif. She moved ahead with a break for 2-1 in the second set but Sherif fought valiantly from there, and even saved four match points to stay alive in the ninth game.

Rybakina calmly served out the match in the next game, however, finishing her duties in 90 minutes to set a clash with 18-year-old Czech Sara Bejlek.

Bejlek, playing in her first 1000 level event, took out Ashlyn Krueger, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16.

Bejlek posted the first two Top 50 victories of her career, beating Anna Blinkova and Dubai finalist Anna Kalinskaya. She has never defeated – or faced a Top-20 player – but will get a taste of what the WTA’s elite has to offer when she faces Rybakina.

"I've never played against a player like this," Bejlek said, "but I will try my best and we'll see how it will go tomorrow. But I'm looking forward to that match."

The 18-year-old Czech was a girls semifinalist at Roland-Garros in 2022 – she entered the week at 136 in the world.

Keep up with all the scores from a busy day in Madrid here


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