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.
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.
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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