Rybakina beats Mertens in Miami for 11th straight win

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan kept her possibility of a Sunshine Double alive with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the Miami Open Round of 16 on Monday. No.10 seed Rybakina, who claimed the first WTA 1000 title of her career at Indian Wells a week ago, notched her 11th straight match-win by defeating 39th-ranked Mertens in 1 hour and 46 minutes.

“It was a really tough match today,” Rybakina said. “Again, I didn’t start the greatest, but happy that it was in two sets. … For sure, physically I’m not the freshest, but I’m happy that I’m managing and finding my way. To be in the quarterfinal is great, and hopefully I’m going to play better tomorrow.”

In the quarterfinals, Rybakina will meet No.25 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy, who defeated No.24 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-3, 6-3. Rybakina and Trevisan will face off for the first time as they each seek their first Miami Open semifinal.

Rybakina’s roll continues: Rybakina adds another victory to her stirring start of the season. She has compiled a 2023 win-loss record of 19-4, including a trip to the Australian Open final. Rybakina is currently at her career-high ranking of World No.7 following her run to the title in Indian Wells.

Rybakina has the second-most match-wins on the Hologic WTA Tour this year with 19. Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who got her 20th victory of the year on Monday night over Barbora Krejcikova, is the only player ahead of Rybakina in match-wins this season.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina is still in the running to pull off the Sunshine Double by winning last week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open back-to-back. She had to stave off one match point in her previous round against Paula Badosa to get this far.
Match moments: Mertens grabbed the first service break on Monday, converting her fourth break point of the 3-3 game. But two double faults by Mertens in the following game gave Rybakina a chance to break right back, which she took with a putaway in the forecourt.

Rybakina had another solid return game at 5-4, where she held three set points. On her third opportunity, Rybakina used her power plays to force an error long and capture the first set from a break down.

Rybakina won another lengthy game in the second set, breaking for 2-0 on her fourth break point of that game by forcing a Mertens lob long with a sturdy volley. That was the final break of the day, with Rybakina erasing the four break points she faced at 3-1 in the second set.

With the win, Rybakina improved her head-to-head record against Mertens to 3-1. Rybakina slammed 10 aces in the match and had a total of 25 winners to 22 unforced errors. Mertens had the same number of unforced errors but only 19 winners.
Earlier, Trevisan booked a place in the quarterfinals of a WTA 1000 event for the first time in her career with her win over former Miami Open finalist Ostapenko.

The 29-year-old’s best prior result at this level came last fall in Guadalajara, where she reached the third round. But in her first career meeting against the 2017 Roland Garros champion, and her 10th WTA 1000 main-draw appearance overall, Trevisan eased to a 1 hour, 30-minute victory to break new ground.

Making her main-draw debut in Miami, Trevisan is the first Italian to get this far in the singles draw at the tournament in a decade, dating back to when Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci made up a quarter of the last eight in 2013.

Source: eNCA

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