2024 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix FINAL PREVIEW: Marta KOSTYUK at peak form faces inspired Elena RYBAKINA

Saturday, 20 April 2024 at 23:30
The WTA 500 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will have a new champion after Elena Rybakina eliminated the 2-times defending champion Iga Swiatek in the semifinals with a score of 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, arriving in impeccable form for the final. She will face Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who defeated the 2023 Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.
Rybakina's form in 2024 has been excellent despite dealing with injuries. The Kazakh is in her fifth final of the year after just four months into the season. The last time a player reached five finals in the first four months of the year was Victoria Azarenka in 2012.

Rybakina's consistency to reach another final

After falling in the final of the Miami Open to Danielle Collins, Rybakina started the clay swing in Stuttgart. As the 4th seed, she had a bye in the first round and faced Veronika Kudermetova, defeating her 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, she also went to three sets against the resilient Jasmine Paolini, clinching victory 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 before beating Swiatek in the semifinal.
Rybakina reached a record of 25-4 and made it to her fifth final in seven tournaments played, only faltering at the Australian Open (defeat in the second round against Anna Blinkova) and then in Dubai, where she retired before the quarterfinals against Jasmine Paolini.
The 24-year-old proved once again to be a nightmare for the world No. 1 Swiatek in the semifinals. The Polish player had a 10-0 record in Stuttgart and was favored to win her third consecutive title, but she couldn't handle Rybakina, who extended her head-to-head to 4-2 in her favor.
Rybakian has a 7-11 record in finals so far

The rising level of Marta Kostyuk

Since the beginning of the year, Kostyuk made it clear that this would be her breakthrough year. The Ukrainian reached the top 50 for the first time in 2021 and had since hovered around positions between world No. 30 and 40, waiting to make the leap. At 21 years old, she started 2024 by surprising everyone at the Australian Open, reaching the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career, but was eliminated by the 4th seed Coco Gauff.
It wasn't an isolated result, as she has maintained consistency this year. In her last three tournaments played, she reached the final of the San Diego Open (defeat against Katie Boulter), then made it to the semifinals of Indian Wells, and now she's in the third final of her career, the first on clay.
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Kostyuk achieved three top-10 wins this week, totaling 7 in his career
With a tough draw in Stuttgart, she has secured three consecutive victories against top-10 players. In the round of 16, she saved several match points against the world No. 6 Zheng Qinwen to defeat her 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. In the quarterfinals, she reached the third-set tie-break against the world No. 3 Coco Gauff and overcame her 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6), while in the semifinals, she defeated the world No. 7 Marketa Vondrousova 7-6(2), 6-2.
The duel between Kostyuk and Rybakina promises to be a lengthy battle, with a head-to-head record of 1-1, although both matches were on hardcourts. Rybakina has played three sets in 7 of her last 9 matches, while Kostyuk's matches, especially this week, have been a rollercoaster against top opponents, where the Ukrainian has shown good resilience.

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