Rybakina sets up Qatar Open final clash with Swiatek

tennis16 February 2024 15:10| Ā© AFP
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Elena Rybakina Ā© Getty Images

Third seed Elena Rybakina is into the final of the Qatar Open after a 6-2 6-4 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Friday's semifinal and will now meet world number one Iga Swiatek in the decider.

Defending champion Swiatek will be well rested as she bids to win the tournament for a third consecutive year, after she received a walkover in her semifinal when Karolina Pliskova withdrew because of a lower back injury.

Rybakina, with wins in Brisbane and Abu Dhabi already this year, looked to be easing to victory before the unseeded Russian put in a brave finish, and will now meet Swiatek in a final for the first time.

After an even opening, Rybakina served to love to make it 2-2 before going on to break the Russian's serve twice in the first set.

The second set saw Rybakina break serve straight away, and after that, it looked a formality despite Pavlyuchenkova having six break points before Rybakina rallied to hold serve to make it 3-1 and followed up with another break.

Rybakina served for the match at 5-2, but Pavlyuchenkova wasn't beaten just yet and broke serve for the first time to push her opponent all the way, but Rybakina held her nerve, and her serve, to foil any chance of a comeback.

Swiatek and Rybakina have met on four occasions before now, with Rybakina winning the last three, which includes their quarterfinal last year in Rome when the Pole retired through injury with the match tied at one set each and 2-2 in the third.

Top seed Swiatek will bid to become the first player to win a WTA event three straight times since Serena Williams won the Miami title from 2013-15, when she goes up against Rybakina in Saturday's final.