Not enough in the tank for fatigued Rybakina to overcome a red-hot opponent in Miami final

Elena Rybakina’s grueling fortnight in Miami came to an end with a straight-set loss to Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday.

Elena Rybakina, Miami 2024 Elena Rybakina, Miami 2024 | © Julien Nouet for Tennis Majors

On paper, Elena Rybakina was the favorite against Danielle Collins in the Miami Open final on Saturday afternoon. After all, Rybakina is the No 4 player in the world and Collins is 53rd.

In reality, however, the chips were stacked against the Kazakh. She was already less than 100 percent heading into Miami, having withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells due to illness. Adding insult to injury, Rybakina’s road to Saturday’s title match could not have been much tougher. She picked up four of her five wins in three sets.

That left her gas tank close to empty for the final, although she managed to be competitive from start to finish despite the 7-5, 6-3 scoreline.


Elena Rybakina

“(It was a) very tough match,” Rybakina said during her press conference. “But we were not expecting for me to be in the final with all the circumstances, and that I didn’t play so much before the tournament. So overall I think it’s a positive week, and it was a lot of good matches. I’m happy with that.

“After [the quarter-finals against Maria Sakkari], it was already difficult physically. I was feeling the body, of course. And also it was not easy tournament because first matches I was playing quite late finishing, and then I was going to sleep around 2:00, 3:00. Then some matches were during the day. So the schedule was also up and down, and (for) recovery it doesn’t help, for sure.

“As I said, it was a lot of tough matches. Some of them went my way with a bit of luck here and there. This one didn’t, and of course I was not expecting to be fresh in this final. And she played really well.”

As Rybakina mentioned, running into a red-hot opponent did help. Collins was incredible throughout the fortnight, dominating opponents left and right. After dropping her first set of the event to Bernarda Pera, the American reeled off 14 sets in a row without even being pushed to a single tiebreaker.

“She’s playing very aggressive,” Rybakina assessed. “I think just these first few shots of the point, you need to be very reactive. Of course physically I was not at my best, so I couldn’t push myself. Maybe I should have maybe just risked a little bit more when I had break points.

“Overall, I think it was just tough to compete against someone who is playing so well these two weeks. I think physically she was much fresher than me.”

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