Kasatkina ousts Wimbledon champion Rybakina in San Jose
Day one of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose offered a tough list of first-round matches, including Daria Kasatkina’s anger against reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, and set the stage for an exciting second round.
After being beaten in the first set, seventh seed Daria Kasatkina regrouped to defeat Elena Rybakina in her first match since the championships, 1-6 6-2 6-0. Because Wimbledon did not award ranking points this year, Rybakina entered San Jose unseeded.
The two knew each other from playing at the juniors, and Kasatkina was primed for the powerful strike. She planned her approach accordingly, saying she didn’t watch the scoreboard because she “knew that with hitters, especially high-level hitters, as soon as you lose focus they find a few winners. “. From thirty loves it can easily become thirty all and then it’s another story.
The San Jose night session crowd cheered on both players, but the Russian who lives in Barcelona had fans screaming for her in English, Russian and Spanish. When the sun went down and the lights came on, Kasatkina slipped into the game. She later explained that she likes the simple conditions with no shadows on the court and blindingly hot sun: “I really like playing when it’s already dark. We play with the lights and for me the night sessions are just different.
Rybakina played the first set with incredible power, forcing Kasatkina back and controlling the points. In the second set, the temperatures cooled quickly, slowing the courts and favoring Kasatkina’s play. Absorbing Rybakina’s power, Kasatkina began forcing errors as his opponent failed to concentrate and adjust their game to the changing conditions on the pitch.
After winning Wimbledon last month, Rybakina embarked on a publicity tour that kept her away from the courts and the gym for more than a week. The Kazakh is determined to get back into the swing of things before the US Open. Her time on the San Jose courts is not over yet, as she is also in the doubles draw with Amina Anshba. “I’m more of a solo player, so doubles is for fun and it’s also something where I can practice serves and returns. It’s good for my game. Same reactions and then it’s good to still play matches, especially at the start of the season on hard courts.
Rybakina plays her first doubles match on Tuesday. Kasatkina will next face American qualifier Taylor Townsend.
Madison Keys sets up second-round clash with Ons Jabeur
Madison Keys beat Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-2 in just under an hour. The quick win pits him against third seed Ons Jabeur in the second round. Describing the Tunisian, she did not mince words: “She is really very good. It’s a bit crazy. Obviously, we have very different playing styles. So watching how she plays tennis and what she can do is just amazing to me.
With little time to enjoy his first-round win, Keys is already preparing for a tough game next, “I feel like I’m going to run a lot, which sucks.” The American laughed and added: “I’m very ready for dropshots.”
Jabeur won its only previous meeting 6-4 6-1, at Cincinnati 2020.