Roland Garros 2021: Serena Williams vs Elena Rybakina preview, head-to-head & prediction

Serena Williams
Serena Williams
Namit Kumar

Match details

Fixture: (7) Serena Williams vs (21) Elena Rybakina

Date: 6 June 2021

Tournament: Roland Garros 2021

Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)

Venue: Paris, France

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Red Clay

Prize money: €17,171,108

Match timing: Not before 5.45 pm local time, 3.45 pm GMT, 11.45 am EST, 9.15 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP

Serena Williams vs Elena Rybakina preview

Looking to win a 24th Major title this fortnight, Serena Williams takes on Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in the fourth round at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Williams came into the French Open with a serious lack of claycourt match practice, having lost two of her three matches on the surface in 2021. But as is expected of her, the 23-time Slam champion has significantly raised her game on the big stage.

Williams has beaten Irina-Camelia Begu, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Danielle Collins in Paris so far, dropping just one set along the way.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina, meanwhile, had been flying under the radar heading into Roland Garros. But the 21-year-old has more than held her own in the early rounds in Paris so far.

Despite sporting an underwhelming 8-9 win-loss record for the year, Rybakina has done well to make it into the second week of the French Open for the first time in her career. The Kazakh has set up the encounter against Williams with back-to-back straight-sets wins over Elsa Jacquemot, Nao Hibino and Elena Vesnina.

Serena Williams vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head

The fourth-round encounter at Roland Garros is the first match between Serena Williams and Elena Rybakina, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Serena Williams vs Elena Rybakina prediction

Serena Williams comes into the encounter as the overwhelming favorite on paper. She is also being considered as one of the favorites for the title following the exits of Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka; the American is the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half of the draw.

Williams has shown this week that her serve and groundstrokes can still be as venomous as ever when she is dialed in. But there have been a few stumbles too, mostly of her own doing.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Elena Rybakina, on her part, comes into the encounter with plenty of momentum. The 21-year-old has played to her strengths so far in Paris, using her firepower to take the initiative from the baseline and finish points early.

Much like Collins, Rybakina is the kind of player that can use her big groundstrokes to take advantage of any lapses in concentration from Williams. But the American would be sniffing a big opportunity here, and her experience might be enough to take her to the next round.

Prediction: Serena Williams to win in three sets.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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