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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, April 21, 2024


Elena Rybakina sped past Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-2, in the Stuttgart final to win her WTA-best third title of the season.

Photo credit: Alex Grimm/Getty

The twists and turns of the tennis journey don’t dismay Elena Rybakina.

Eyes riveted on the ball, Rybakina occupied the driver’s seat from the start of today’s Stuttgart final.

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Accelerating through profound flat strikes, Rybakina rolled Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-2 In the Stuttgart final to capture her eighth career title.

Though the 24-year-old Rybakina doesn't own a driver's license, she drove Kostyuk nuts with her all-court aggression capturing the championship and the Porsche awarded to the champion. 

"I knew that I have to be focused from the beginning, and also, compare the match with Iga, it's a lot different. Marta is coming forward, trying to take the ball early," Rybakina told the media in Stuttgart. "She moves well. But still, the speed is different, and I was focusing not to rush, also to try to open the angle.

"Also sometimes the ball is coming slow, and you kind of think that you can hit through, but in the end, it's very difficult conditions here. So I was trying just to be patient, and yeah, I think I did a really good job from the beginning till the end."

Yesterday, Rybakina denied 11 of 13 break points in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 triumph to snap world No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s 10-match Stuttgart winning streak and reach her fifth final of the season at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

Today, the 2022 Wimbledon winner again dictated play on serve. Rybakina served 64 percent, won 30 of 37 first-serve points and denied all three break points she faced in a clinical conquest.

"Well, yeah, of course it sucks to lose in the final, especially a match like this," said Kostyuk, who was drained by three Top 10 wins en route to this final. "I couldn't produce a fight. You know, she was really on top today.

"Yeah, but overall, obviously very proud of myself this week."

The fourth-seeded Rybakina won her Tour-best third title of the season—and raised her record to a WTA-best 26-4 on the season.

Rybakina is the first woman to contest five finals in the first four months of the season since Victoria Azarenka did it back in 2012.

Feeling the pressure of the Rybakina return, Kostyuk tried going for a bit more on serve. A couple of double faults proved costly, putting the Ukrainian in a break-point bind.

Rybakina hammered a heavy backhand rattling out the error to earn the double break for a 5-2 lead after 26 minutes of play.

The fourth seed served out the opening set at love to build a one-set lead after 30 minutes.

Coming off three consecutive Top 10 victories—over Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova, US Open champion Coco Gauff and Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng—Kostyuk had to be feeling fatigue heading into this final.

Under duress to start the second set, Kostyuk squandered a 30-love lead as Rybakina broke to start the second set.

The Abu Dhabi and Brisbane champion confirmed the break at 15—her fifth game in a row—for a 2-0 lead.

Facing a break point for the first time in the final, Rybakina threw down a flat serve and smacked a swing volley winner for deuce.

The 21-year-old Ukrainian had a good look at a third break point, but pasted a forehand into the net. A courageous second serve from Rybakina gave her the ad and she denied duress capping a hard-fought service game for 4-2.

That strong start sparked Rybakina through the finish line.

Exploiting Kostyuk’s sixth double fault, Rybakina earned break point in the seventh game. Rybakina ran down a dropper and belted a backhand swing volley scoring her fourth break of the day for a 6-2, 5-2 lead after just 63 minutes of play.

Hammering a high forehand crosscourt gave Rybakina a third championship point, but she sprayed a forehand wide.

On her fourth championship point, Rybakina drew one final error to close a commanding victory in 69 minutes.


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