MATCH REPORT | 2024 Adelaide International: Elena RYBAKINA's pre Australian Open gamble doesn't pay off, easily beaten by Ekaterina ALEXANDROVA

Thursday, 11 January 2024 at 12:33
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It is a first top five win since October 2021 for Ekaterina Alexandrova and one which sees a pre Australian Open gamble from Elena Rybakina not pay off at the Adelaide International with the World Number Three bowing out in the Quarter-Finals 3-6, 3-6.
Alexandrova will now face Jelena Ostapenko who has been superb in recent weeks and could now have a big chance. Jessica Pegula who won earlier this morning and Daria Kasatkina lurk on the other side of the draw in a likely quality final no matter who comes through. But for Rybakina, it will be Karolina Pliskova next up likely on Monday or Tuesday at the Australian Open.
That gamble was due to Rybakina winning Brisbane last week. If she doesn't reach the final or win in Melbourne, she drops a chunk of her ranking points. She softened the blow with 500 last week and would've added 1000 overall if she won in Adelaide in a weakened field. But the signs were perhaps there for Rybakina during her opener against Cristina Bucsa that she wasn't as emphatic as she was in Brisbane.
That saw her seal the title without dropping a set where she brutally thrashed Aryna Sabalenka. But the dangerous Alexandrova proved to be her first defeat of the year.
She was erratic early on losing her serve twice to make it 3-0 early doors to Alexandrova who took Rybakina apart. She even had chances to make it 5-0 at one point and head towards bagelling the World Number Three. But Rybakina grew into it albeit Alexandrova continued motoring along towards the opening set breaking to make it 6-3.
It was a similar story in the second with Rybakina unable to use her serve effectively and the Kazakh found herself 5-0 down and on the verge of a crushing loss. Alexandrova was broken though at 5-2 as Rybakina began to fight back and she was 40-0 up aiming to break the Russian's serve but Alexandrova found a way and came through on her first match point.

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