Elena Rybakina rates her chances against Iga Swiatek, who is ‘physically one of the best’
The last time Elena Rybakina took on Iga Swiatek she brushed aside world No 1 with a clinical display and Wimbledon champion admits she will once again need to be aggressive when she takes on the Pole at the Indian Wells Open.
Rybakina and Swiatek met in the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open and, although the latter was the clear favourite heading into the match, it was the former who emerged with a 6-4, 6-4 victory to draw level at 1-1 in their head-to-head rivalry.
The pair will meet again on Friday as they will play in the semi-final in California.
Rybakina booked her place in the last four with a battling 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-4 win over Karolina Muchova while Swiatek advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
World No 10 Rybakina, though, knows she is in for a tough challenge in California.
“For sure it’s gonna be different than in Australia. Before match in Australia, we played also many times. For sure it’s gonna be tough match,” she said.
“I would say there is things, of course, which I’m doing like with opponent, preparing for each opponent, but overall my game is to be aggressive. As I said, here it’s not easy, but I still have to stick to this game plan, and then try to prepare, to think also with my coaches what we can do here.”
When asked about what challenges she will face when she takes on the three-time Grand Slam winner, Rybakina admitted that she will need to be at her best physically.
“I would say that for sure Iga, she’s a big fighter, she moves really well on court. I think physically she’s one of the best for now,” the Kazakh player said. “It’s not easy against her, because you feel that every point is gonna be tough. She’s very consistent also.
“In Australia I just know that when I went to play against her, I had really nothing to lose. She’s No 1 and kind of pressure on her in that moment.
“I knew the game plan, I knew how I have to play, and in the end, I did well. So we see how it’s gonna go tomorrow, but I think I have chances, of course, if I’m physically ready. We’ll see.”
Swiatek knows she needs to be at her best as well.
“She’s playing really well and in semi-finals you always are going to play against the top players, so I’ll be ready,” the top seed said.
“Last time we played was in Australia. Totally different conditions. So I’ll just prepare the same as before any other match and I’ll do 100 per cent.”
Mats Wilander recently admitted that players with a certain style are always going to trouble Swiatek and Rybakina is one of them.
“It’s just clear there’s a style of player that she will have to look out for on certain speed hard courts, and those players are very consistent and hit the ball very hard from both sides. That’s her worry,” he said.
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