Elena Rybakina took her second title of this year by winning the final match of the WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL D'Italia over Anhelina Kalinina. The Ukrainian has withdrew during the second game of second set due to a leg injury, while Rybakina was leading 6-4 1-0.
Rybakina was a big pre-match favorite, as the reigning Wimbledon champion plays an impressive season, reaching out the finals of Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and the recently ended event in Foro Italico. At the same time, it was career's maiden WTA 1000 final for Kalinina, who was the biggest sensation of the two-weeks event in Rome.
It was a very long evening for all the fans in Foro Italico. The initial kick-off time for this match was scheduled at 7 PM, but the preceeding semifinal of the ATP competition between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas took more than 6 hours in general due to the delays caused by rainfall. The finalists have entered the court after 11 PM eventually, accompanied by much smaller audience than it could in the normal conditions. The match has started promisingly for Kalinina, who earned the break in long opening game, and confirmed it by winning the following service game quite easily. That was the end of good news for the Ukrainian today, as Rybakina started to put an immense pressure since then, and created 9 breakpoints till the end of the set, winning two service games of her opponent and coming back from being a break down to clinch the opening set with a score 6-4. The second one was no story, as Kalinina have asked for the medical treatment and withdrew during the second game due to a pain in her leg, which disallowed her to continue the play in this final.
Here are the thoughts from the finalists shared by both during the post-match ceremony:
Elena Rybakina: "Of course, happy with the title. Not the way I want to finish this match. The results of Anhelina were great. She played some tough battles. Really happy for her improvement. Hopefully she can continue like this. Pity she could not finish the match. I hope that it os nothing serious. So hopefully she can recover quick and she can continue like this."
Anhelina Kalinina: "I feel like I am at my physical limit today especially. Today I started well, but after, I do not know, two or three games, I could not play. I was trying, but it was absolutely impossible. I am most proud of my fighting spirit these two weeks. I was fighting despite the score, any situation, any weather conditions, opponents. Everyone was very tough. It was a really serious draw."
Both the finalists capitalise on their great run in Rome, achieving the career's highest positions in the upcoming WTA ranking. Rybakina reaches out the 4th spot, which guarantees her to be seeded until the possible semifinals in Roland Garros. Kalinina advanced into 25th place, which makes her the seeded player in the upcoming Grand Slam tournament, if she just recover enough after the injury suffered in Rome's final.