Fixture: Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina
Date: 26 September 2020
Tournament: Internationaux de Strasbourg 2020
Venue: Strasbourg, France
Category: WTA International
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €225,500
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina preview
World No. 5 Elina Svitolina will be looking to round off a fine week in Strasbourg with the trophy, when she takes on World No. 18 Elena Rybakina in the championship match on Saturday.
After a shock loss to Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open last week, Svitolina has shown great resolve to bounce back quickly in Strasbourg. The Ukrainian fought past Magda Linette in her Round of 16 match, and then registered a comfortable win over Switzerland's Jil Teichmann in the quarterfinals.
In her semifinal match against World No. 12 Aryna Sabalenka, Svitolina weathered some heavy hitting from the Belarusian before edging past her in three sets.
World No. 18 Elena Rybakina, on the other hand, has been her usual calm self throughout the week. The 21-year-old returned to the European clay swing following a slow restart to the season, where she lost in the second round of the US Open, but the Kazakh is well and truly back in form now.
Building on a decent result at the Italian Open, Rybakina stormed into the last four at Strasbourg with an emphatic straight-sets victory over China's Shuai Zhang. In the semifinals, the youngster defeated Japan's Nao Hibino by putting up a magnificent display of effortless power.
Rybakina is now into her fourth final on the WTA tour this year, and she would be very keen to lift the trophy just before the start of Roland Garros.
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head
The final in Strasbourg will be the first-ever career meeting between Elina Svitolina and Elena Rybakina, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina prediction
Elina Svitolina has been suffering from service niggles ever since the WTA Tour resumed post-lockdown, at times struggling to even get 50% of her first serves in. In the absence of a consistent serve, Svitolina has had to work doubly hard during the rallies and constantly look to turn defense into offense, as we saw her do in her close semifinal win over Aryna Sabalenka.
Svitolina doesn't possess the kind of firepower that her next opponent Elena Rybakina does, so the Ukrainian will have to do more of the same on Saturday. Rybakina has an aggressive baseline game and likes to finish points quickly even on clay, which means Svitolina will likely spend much of her time on the defensive.
The Kazakh youngster does have a tendency to cough up a few unforced errors, and that could keep Svitolina in the hunt. But if the Ukrainian is too defensive in her approach, she might find herself blown off the court by Rybakina's first-strike hitting and variety.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in three sets.Published 26 Sep 2020, 00:29 IST