February 09, 2024
Elena Rybakina showcased her mettle by coming from behind to defeat Danielle Collins and book her place in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, where she joins Barbora Krejčíková and Liudmila Samsonova and Cristina Bucșa, who were also winners on day six of the competition.
Having dispatched former World Number. 1 Naomi Osaka in straight sets on Tuesday, it was no surprise Collins started the match in confident fashion, storming through a first set at fast pace and producing some great tennis.
The set went with serve until Collins broke her opponent at 4-4, subsequently going on to successfully see it out and take a 1-0 lead.
Rybakina’s ranking as World No. 5 quickly became evident in the second as she responded brilliantly, playing with consistency and quality to win 6-3 and force a final set.
Having drawn level, Rybakina, making her first appearance of the competition after receiving a bye at the Round of 32 stage, clearly sensed a shift in initiative as she stepped it up and took control.
Collins was resolute and persistent, refusing to cave as Rybakina looked to take the match away from her, but ultimately the 2022 Wimbledon champion was simply too strong and sealed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to set up a quarter-final showdown with Bucșa.
The Spaniard went head-to-head with Brit Heather Watson in the day’s final game, and it was Bucșa who prevailed courtesy of a 7-6, 7-5 victory in what was a tight and entertaining contest.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo as she was forced to withdraw from the day’s opening match, against Krejčíková, after sustaining an injury to her right thumb.
Krejčíková, leading 6-2, 1-0 at the time of Sorribes Tormo’s withdrawal, automatically advances to the next stage of the tournament.
Krejčíková will meet Liudmila Samsonova in the quarter-finals following her impressive straight-sets win over Anhelina Kalinina in which she fired five Aces.
Samsonova, finalist at last year’s tournament, said: “I feel happy when I’m here, I’m feeling good. I’ve been waiting to come back to the Middle East since last year so everything is good.
“I think it’s going to be a really good test for me because Barbora is really hot now, she’s at an incredible level and I know she can play amazing tennis.
“Let’s see what I can do, it’s a good test and it’s one which I’m sure I will enjoy.”
The match between Krejčíková and Samsonova opens tomorrow’s action on Stadium Court at 1pm.
In today’s final game, Bucșa went head-to-head with Brit Heather Watson, and it was the Spaniard who prevailed courtesy of a 7-6, 7-5 victory in what was a tight contest.
The injury to Sorribes Tormo means she and partner Marie Bouzkova have withdrawn from the doubles competition, with scheduled opponents Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands now through to the last four.
They will face Brazilian duo Beatriz Haddad Maia and Luisa Stefani, who produced a dominant display against American pairing Caroline Dolehide and Desirae Krawczyk this afternoon.
Haddad Maia, who faces Ons Jabeur in the singles quarter-finals tomorrow, and Stefani were in control of the contest from the start and the eventual outcome never looked in doubt.
There was also frustration for Magda Linette and partner Bernarda Pera who, having won their last-eight match against Giuliana Olmos and Chan Hao-Ching, were forced to withdraw from the competition after Linette sustained an injury to her left thigh.
Whichever pairing comes out on top in the Linda Noskova / Heather Watson versus Shuko Aoyama / Aleksandra Krunic quarter-final will now advance to the final via Walk Over.
KIDS ENJOY ACCESS ALL AREAS
Three winners of the nationwide art competition, which was launched as part of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open Schools Program experienced a “Day in the Life of a Kid at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open”.
The children were treated to a tour of the stadium, including players’ lounge and media centre, and met doubles partners Noskova and Watson, who chatted to the youngsters, signed autographs and posed for photos with the trio.
Shortly after securing her spot in the quarter-finals, Samsonova conducted a Q&A session in the Mubadala Suite before taking part in a meet-and-greet with Azza AlQubaisi, designer of the trophy which will be raised aloft by the winner of the competition on Sunday evening.
Over 120 children from three schools were also given a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, where they had the opportunity to watch players practising on Stadium Court and preparing for matches in the warm-up area, before visiting the Fan Village and Mubadala Pavilion. Over 1,600 children visited the event today as part of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open Schools Program.