Miami Open: Elena Rybakina beats Victoria Azarenka to reach final with Danielle Collins

Elena Rybakina won four of five games in deciding set to reach Miami final [Getty Images]

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina bravely defeated Victoria Azarenka in a decisive tie-break to reach the Miami final for the second consecutive year.

The 24-year-old Kazakh Rybakina recovered from a poor second set to defeat the Belarusian 6-4 0-6 7-6 (7-2).

Rybakina showed resilience in the final stages, leading 5-3, but lost serve at 5-4 after Azarenka equalized.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion will face unseeded Danielle Collins, who defeated 14th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Rybakina, who was beaten to the trophy by Czech player Petra Kvitova last year, is aiming to complete a “sunshine double” of back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami.

She is now the favorite to win the WTA 1,000 prize, facing off against American Collins, who plans to quit the tour at the end of the season.

Former Australian Open runner-up Collins, 30, needed six set points to end the first set against Russia’s Alexandrova before dominating the second set to reach the top of her career. WTA 1,000m final.

Rybakina’s composure is one of her biggest strengths, along with her tremendous serve and speed, and her ability to stay calm in the face of adversity ultimately helped her win over former world number one Azarenka.

“It was a tough battle, this match was my goal from day one and I’m happy that I can make it to the final,” said Rybakina, who missed Indian Wells earlier this month due to illness.

“I knew I was going to fight until the end and that’s what I did. In the tie-break I changed my mind and just kept working hard.”

After Rybakina won the first set with a break in the middle, she only scored 5 points, including losing 16 points in a row. The second set was occupied by former world number one Azarenka.

Rybakina never faced a break point in the deciding set until she saved the first set with a gutless ace, serving at 5-4.

However, in the second set, she was dragged around the court by the 32-year-old Azarenka before volleying into the net.

Three-time Miami champion Azarenka, whose fighting spirit has been one of the cornerstones of her successful career, whipped up the crowd as she tried to draw energy.

But Rybakina was unperturbed. She readjusted and actively took the initiative to dominate the tie-break. She won the second of five match points with a forehand winner and sealed the 74-minute deciding set. .

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