Elena Rybakina showcased her mettle by coming from behind to defeat Danielle Collins and book her place in the quarterfinals of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open where she joins Barbora Krejčíková and Liudmila Samsonova and Cristina Bucșa, who were also winners on day six of the competition.
Having dispatched former World Number. 1 Naomi Osaka in straight sets on Tuesday, it was no surprise Collins started the match in confident fashion, storming through a first set at fast pace and producing some great tennis.
The set went with serve until Collins broke her opponent at 4-4, subsequently going on to successfully see it out and take a 1-0 lead.
Rybakina’s ranking as World No. 5 quickly became evident in the second as she responded brilliantly, playing with consistency and quality to win 6-3 and force a final set.
Having drawn level, Rybakina, making her first appearance of the competition after receiving a bye at the Round of 32 stage, clearly sensed a shift in initiative as she stepped it up and took control.
Collins was resolute and persistent, refusing to cave as Rybakina looked to take the match away from her, but ultimately the 2022 Wimbledon champion was simply too strong and sealed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to set up a quarter-final showdown with Bucșa.
The Spaniard went head-to-head with Brit Heather Watson in the day’s final game, and it was Bucșa who prevailed courtesy of a 7-6, 7-5 victory in what was a tight and entertaining contest.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo as she was forced to withdraw from the day’s opening match, against Krejčíková, after sustaining an injury to her right thumb.
Krejčíková, leading 6-2, 1-0 at the time of Sorribes Tormo’s withdrawal, automatically advances to the next stage of the tournament.
Krejčíková will meet Liudmila Samsonova in the quarter-finals following her impressive straight-sets win over Anhelina Kalinina in which she fired five Aces.
Samsonova, finalist at last year’s tournament, said: “I feel happy when I’m here, I’m feeling good. I’ve been waiting to come back to the Middle East since last year so everything is good.
“I think it’s going to be a really good test for me because Barbora is really hot now, she’s at an incredible level and I know she can play amazing tennis.
“Let’s see what I can do, it’s a good test and it’s one which I’m sure I will enjoy.”
The match between Krejčíková and Samsonova opens Friday’s action on Stadium Court at 1pm.
In Thursday’s final game, Bucșa went head-to-head with Brit Heather Watson, and it was the Spaniard who prevailed courtesy of a 7-6, 7-5 victory in what was a tight contest.
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