Since Elena Rybakina reached her first WTA Tour final on July 21, 2019, she has been one of the form players on the circuit.
A convincing 6-2, 6-0 victory over qualifier Patricia Maria Tig on that occasion in Romania was followed in September by a runners-up spot at the Jiangxi Open, and already in 2020 she has been a finalist on four occasions, notably winning in Hobart.
The 21-year-old WTA World No.17 is ranked No.5 on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen and has been consistently matching some of the game’s outstanding players.
Indeed, she picked a narrow defeat to WTA World No.2 Simona Halep in the final of Dubai as one of the outstanding performances of her career to date and spoke about it in an interview for wtatennis.com's 'My Performance' series.
“I didn’t expect much from the tournament because I came from St Petersburg,” she explained, having reached the showcase match in Russia only to fall to another Top 10 player in the form of defending champion Kiki Bertens.
“I only had one day to adapt to the conditions and it was really tough for me. Physically, I was not fresh at all.
Focussing on the 3-6, 6-3, 7-5(5) loss to Halep, she added: “I could learn a great deal from this match and it was a great experience for me.”
Rybakina reflected on the tactics she used in the trying circumstances to combat the physicality of her opponent and offered an insight into her mindset throughout an encounter in which she came up against challenges that she had never previously experienced at the highest level.
The full interview is available below.