There’s no place like home.
Unless you’re Elena Rybakina.
These days, the top-seeded Rybakina continues throwing down winning welcome mats with imposing ease wherever she goes.
A commanding Rybakina broke six times sweeping Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-4 in the Abu Dhabi final for her seventh career title, including second championship of 2024.
Rybakina out served and out slugged the clever Kasatkina.
One of the sport’s premier servers, Rybakina served 76 percent and cracked 17 winners against only 12 errors.
Faced with the Kazakh’s jolting power, Kasatkina committed 27 unforced errors and was repeatedly rushed trying to defend her second serve. Rybakina won 12 of 14 points played on the Russian’s second serve.
It is Rybakina’s third consecutive finals win—following her Brisbane blow-out victory over Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka—as she improved her career finals record to 7-9.
Continuing her best season start, Rybakina raised her 2024 record to 11-2.
“First I want to thank Daria of course with a great week,” Rybakina said. “Tough week especially last matches and tomorrow is already a match in Doha. So hopefully we both recover and do well there and maybe play final there.
“I want to say thanks to all the fans who came to support us this week. It’s been an amazing atmosphere and especially to see the flags from Kazakhstan it really means a lot. Thank you so much guys.”
It was Kasatkina’s fourth straight final defeat, but still a successful week. Kasatkina, who out-dueled Beatriz Haddad Maia in 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in yesterday’s three-hour marathon semifinal win, rises to No. 13 in the live rankings.
“Congratulations to Elena, you had a great week,” Kasatkina said. “Congrats to you and your team. I hope to play many more finals against each other—let’s see the outcome in the next ones—but good job, good job.” The final offered the contrast of the power player in Rybakina against the quick counter puncher Kasatkina, but the 2022 Wimbledon winner was landing big blows.
The top seed came out hitting deep drives from the start. Kasatkina squandered a 40-love lead in her opening service game as Rybakina roared back to break for a 2-0 lead.
Final jitters and breezy conditions conspired to constrict both women on serve. Rybakina double-faulted back the break in the third game. Kasatkina could not accept that gift and floated her fourth double fault as Rybakina broke right back for 3-1.
Sliding a serve winner down the middle, Rybakina stretched her lead to 4-1.
The second serve is the most suspect shot in Kasatkina’s otherwise impressive all-court arsenal. Through her first three service games, Kasatkina did not win a second serve point and clanked five double faults as Rybakina scored her third break at love for 5-1.
The 2022 Wimbledon champion cruised through the opening set in just 25 minutes.
An overpowering Rybakina served 86 percent in the opening set. Kasatkina betrayed her own cause by committing 16 unforced errors—more than doubling the top seed in errors.