Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina Stages Epic Comeback to Reach Madrid Open Semifinals

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina staged a remarkable comeback after dropping the first set to defeat compatriot Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 in a grueling two-hour and 48-minute battle, securing her spot in the Madrid Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

Elena Rybakina

Despite a strong start from the 50th-ranked Putintseva, who dominated the first set, Rybakina fought back valiantly, saving two match points when trailing 5-2 in the final set. Reflecting on her win, Rybakina admitted, “It was really tough. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I was hoping I’d start better… it wasn’t easy always coming back.”

The tide turned at 5-2, with Rybakina leaving behind her emotions and frustrations to focus on her game. This shift, coupled with some errors from Putintseva, proved pivotal. “The momentum shifted. Yulia started to get a bit more angry and some mistakes helped me. I just kept on playing. I’m really happy,” Rybakina said.

Rybakina’s determination was evident as she raised her level of play to claim a hard-fought second set, clinching it in a tiebreak with a well-placed backhand volley. This victory marked her first win against Putintseva, having lost their previous two encounters.

After reaching the Madrid Open quarter-finals for the first time by defeating teenage qualifier Sara Bejlek 6-1, 6-3, Rybakina now awaits the winner between world number two Aryna Sabalenka and 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva. “We’ll see who wins. If it’s Aryna… she’s a great champion. It’ll be a tough battle like we always have,” Rybakina commented. “If it’s Mirra, she’s young and she has nothing to lose. These kinds of players are very dangerous. You never know what to expect. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can recover.”

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