Olympics 2021: Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina preview, head-to-head & prediction

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina

Match details

Fixture: (15) Elena Rybakina [KAZ] vs (4) Elina Svitolina [UKR]

Date: 31 July 2021

Tournament: Olympics 2021

Round: Bronze Medal match

Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan

Category: Olympic Games

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv

Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina preview

Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina and 15th seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan will square off at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday with a bronze medal up for grabs. Both women are looking to secure their respective countries' first-ever Olympic medal in tennis.

The two have had contrasting journeys at the Games. Svitolina endured a tough start to her Olympic campaign, needing three sets in each of her first three rounds against Laura Siegemund, Ajla Tomljanovic and Maria Sakkari.

Although the World No. 6 hardly broke a sweat against Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals, she was blown away in the semifinals by Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-1.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina

In contrast, World No. 20 Elena Rybakina cruised through her first four rounds, dispatching Sam Stosur, Rebecca Peterson, Donna Vekic and Garbine Muguruza in straight sets. In the semifinals, the 22-year-old Kazakh squandered a big lead before falling to a 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 defeat to ninth seed Belinda Bencic.

Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head

Elina Svitolina and Elena Rybakina are tied 1-1 in the head-to-head. While Svitolina won their first-ever meeting in the Strasbourg final in 2020, the Kazakh exacted revenge at Eastbourne earlier this year.

Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina prediction

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina had plenty of chances against Belinda Bencic but she failed to capitalize on most of them. Having led 5-2 in the first set, the Kazakh had six set points which she squandered. In the deciding set, she broke first to go 2-0 up only to collapse amid a heap of errors.

Rybakina will rue the fact that her errors cost her an opportunity to fetch her country a gold medal but the Kazakh still has a chance to finish on the podium.

Svitolina, meanwhile, had a disastrous outing against Vondrousova, committing three double faults and 29 unforced errors while hitting a paltry eight winners. Svitolina struggled to deal with the weight of the Czech's shots.

She will hope to put on a better showing against Rybakina. To stand any chance against the Kazakh, Svitolina will need to make drastic improvements on serve. She is unlikely to get too many opportunities on the Kazakh's serve so she will need to ensure she protects her own delivery.

Rybakina powered 14 aces past Bencic in her semifinal match and she will be keen to replicate that serving display on Saturday. If she can cut down on her errors and be a little more composed on the big points, she should be able to come away with the win.

Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in two tight sets.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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