Elena Rybakina's quest for the Sunshine Double fell just short, with her 13-match winning streak coming to an end at the hands of Petra Kvitova in the Miami Open final on Saturday. But the reigning Wimbledon champion has much to be proud of from her American swing.
"Just happy with two weeks overall," Rybakina said afterward in her postmatch press conference. "Not so happy with the second set of course, but I think it's still [been] one positive month here in U.S.
"I think Iga [Swiatek's 2022 winning] streak was the longest, which I remember, and it's not easy at all. Obviously it's gonna come the day you're gonna lose, so I don't really count on that."
quite the run for Elena 👏#IndianWells 🤝 #MiamiOpen finals pic.twitter.com/QjzgdC7lsV— wta (@WTA) April 1, 2023
Rybakina won her first WTA 1000 title at Indian Wells to start the spring hard-court season, and she came as close as she could to winning that tournament and Miami back-to-back before being tripped up at the final hurdle.
In a gripping first set on Saturday, Rybakina fought back from a break down at 5-4 and held five set points in the tiebreak, but Kvitova snatched the grueling breaker 16-14. Kvitova went on to ease through the second set and edge ahead 2-1 in their head-to-head series.
"[Kvitova] played really well," Rybakina said. "The second set I think, overall, it was not easy after the first set. I think second [set,] she was also more free to hit, to maybe risk a bit more. I think that in the second I just didn't stay disciplined and was a bit rushing.
"Maybe if the first set would have gone my way it would have been different, the second [set], but of course because I was physically a bit tired, I think that's why I didn't have discipline in the important moments."
Add that to Elena Rybakina's 𝙂𝙍𝙊𝙒𝙄𝙉𝙂 forehand winners tab 🔥#MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/a1jWLGduiB— wta (@WTA) April 1, 2023
Despite the loss, Rybakina proved she has the ability to consistently bring her best week after week -- she leads the tour this year with 21 match-wins. Rybakina trails only Aryna Sabalenka, her Australian Open final vanquisher, in the Race to the WTA Finals.
This fortnight, Rybakina also became the first woman to serve 10 or more aces in six matches during the same tournament since Serena Williams at 2015 Wimbledon.
"I think that every match I play, it's an experience, and one year, it's a lot," Rybakina said. "Now the goal is still to be healthy, because when even you play that good these two weeks, you never know how you're gonna come out on clay, and you need to do good preparation also there. That's the most important.
"After so many matches, I feel confidence is just [from], as I said, to try to do good preparation. I won't say that there is again a lot of time, but that's a good problem to have. Just keep on fighting, keep on working on the technique, physique, and a lot of aspects of my game."