Top seed Elena Rybakina earns an emphatic straight-set triumph over World No. 14 Daria Kasatkina to win the Mudabada Abu Dhabi Open title, lifting her second WTA Tour title this season, her seventh overall at the International Tennis Center Zayed Sports City on Sunday.
World No. 5 Elena Rybakina took the Mudabada Abu Dhabi Open championship match against seventh seed Daria Kasatkina by storm, claiming the title in a straightforward 6-1, 6-4 win after 71 minutes on Sunday.
After the showdown in Abu Dhabi, the brand-new champion commented: “I was coming to this week without expectations because I had some issues in Melbourne, so we needed some time to get back on court.
“I was just trying to get as many matches as I can. Really proud of this week. With every match, I felt more confident.”
Last month, World No. 51 Anna Blinkova stunned the 24-year-old, who suffered a second-round exit at the first major of the season, the Australian Open.
The disappointing performance came after a successful start of the season, which saw her clinching the Brisbane International title by overcoming eventual two-time Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.
In Abu Dhabi, Rybakyna found her best tennis, emerging victorious from an almost flawless week, just ahead of the first WTA 1000 event in Doha, where she will open proceedings on Tuesday with a bye into the second round as the third-seeded player at the Qatar Open.
Kasatkina, however, will be on a tight schedule, set to contest her first-rounder against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday evening.
A ruthless performance by the top seed led her to grab the opener 6-1, finishing in just 25 minutes, in contrast to the erratic display showcased by her adversary, who committed 16 unforced errors in the first set.
Building upon her momentum, Rybakina raced to open a 2-1 lead in the second set, but Kasatkina was not going down without a fight.
The 26-year-old fought back, breaking her opponent twice to draw level at 4-4.
Nonetheless, the player from Kazakhstan quickly shut the door, dismissing the Russian attempts to force a third set.
The former Wimbledon champion broke serve and held to notch an empathic triumph.
She won 76 percent of the first-serve points, converting six of 10 break-point opportunities.
In addition, she hit 17 winners to 12 unforced errors throughout the encounter, compared to Kasatkina’s 14 and 27, respectively.
Assessing her performance, Rybakina said: “Really happy with the way I played throughout the week. It was great tennis, I think I showed.
“In the final, I was really focused from the beginning to the end. I’m very proud.”
During the trophy ceremony, she stressed: “A tough week, especially the last matches, and tomorrow is already a match in Doha [for Kasatkina].
“Hopefully, we both recover, do well there, and maybe play the final there.”
“I want to thank all the fans who came to support us. It’s been an amazing atmosphere, and especially to see the flags from Kazakhstan, it really means a lot.”