Elena Rybakina will face Anhelina Kalinina in Saturday's final of the WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL D'Italia. It's the fourth final of the year for Rybakina, who reached out the title decisive match in another big tournament after Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. Kalinina lives the best week in her career, reaching out the final of WTA 1000 tournament for the first time.
The Kazakh has defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in the match, which was repeatedly interrupted by the rain. Rybakina was a slight pre-match favorite, but the fans could expect a great fight between both ahead of this match. The first set had different turn of events though, as Ostapenko was nowhere near to the peak performances, which she showed in her previous appearances in Foro Italico. Rybakina was playing with better consistence and used her serve as a huge weapon, which was vital for her successes previously this year. The second looked quite differently from the start, as Ostapenko managed to earn the first break in this match and calibrated her shots quite better than in the opening set. The Latvian was leading 4-2 until the short suspension caused by the rain. After coming back to action, Ostapenko has clearly lost her momentum, winning just 2 single points in the following 3 games, where Rybakina scored two breaks in a row to move up into the lead. The match was full of tension, not just because of the rain delays and the discussions between the players and the umpire over there. Rybakina's coach has suggested, that Ostapenko could say some abusive word in the direction of his player during the break caused by rain. The post-match handshake between both was kinda cold and Rybakina adressed some thoughts about her opponent to the umpire just after this.
Rybakina shared some thoughts in the post-match interview: "I did not start that well the second set. A bit low in energy, lost my serve. So it was difficult. Then a few good shots from her, good serves. It changed very quick. The same time, I knew it is only one break and I just need to be focused and fight for every ball because you never know, either you get the winner or it is going to be some mistake. I came without any expectation because I knew the other years were really tough for me coming and play here. Maybe for some people, rain is not good. I guess for my allergies it went the other way. It is helping me a bit to feel better here. I am just happy that I got so many matches now before French Open."
Anhelina Kalinina has earned her career's biggest success after defeating Veronika Kudermetova in a long 2:53 battle, which ended up in the Ukrainian's favour with a score 7-5 5-7 6-2. Kudermetova was a pre-match favorite and could look forward to move up into the top 10 of WTA rankings in case of advancing into the final. The Russian was a dominant force in the opening games, but did not convert 8 breakpoints in 4th and 6th games, as Kalinina managed to stay level on serve and grabbed the set in the decisive games later on. The current world's number 47 has continued a good momentum in second set, moving into the lead in 5th game and could serve for the set in 10th game, but got broken to love within a score *5-4. Kudermetova scored a stunning series of 16 points in a row since being down 3-5 and forced the decider by winning 4 games without giving away any single point for her opponent. The pre-match favorite did not follow the blow though, as the start of third set brough another momentum switch. Kalinina broke Kudermetova twice in a row to move up into 4-0 lead and did not slip away this advantage, quite comfortably crossing the finish line with a score 6-2 there.
Elena Rybakina is quite a confident favorite ahead of the final. The Kazakh continues to successfully fight for the biggest stakes since the last year's Wimbledon, where she has sensationally took her career's maiden major title. Anhelina Kalinina is surely not the player to being written off there, as the Ukrainian has nothing to lose in the biggest match of her career so far and was superior in the only one match played between both, which happened in Charleston 6 weeks ago. Rybakina can advance into 4th place in the WTA rankings in case of winning the title, which can secure her to be seeded up until the possible semifinals in the upcoming Roland Garros. Kalinina has already assured herself to reach out the career's highest rank (25th place). Winning the title can move her up into the top 20 for the first time ever.