RYBAKINA WINS ABU DHABI TO CAPTURE SECOND TITLE OF THE SEASON
Rybakina wins Abu Dhabi
Rybakina wins Abu Dhabi to capture second title of the season
World No.5 Elena Rybakina captured her second title of the season after easing past No.14 Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open on Sunday. Abu Dhabi is Rybakina's seventh career title on the Hologic WTA Tour and fourth on a hard court.
Seeded No.1 at a tournament for the second time in her career, Rybakina enjoyed a winning week in Abu Dhabi, which included wins over Danielle Collins, Cristina Bucsa and No.8 seed Liudmila Samsonova.
"I was coming to this week without expectations because I had some issues in Melbourne, so we needed some time to get back on court," Rybakina said. "I was just trying to get as many matches as I can. Really proud about this week. With every match I felt more confident."
Rybakina moved to 11-2 on the season, having won her first title of the year in Brisbane last month. She is tied with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka for the second-most wins on tour behind Jelena Ostapenko's tour-leading 13 wins.
Despite Sunday's loss, Kasatkina has engineered a strong start to the season. Abu Dhabi was her second final of the nascent season. She made her first in Adelaide in January. With a 9-4 record, Kasatkina ranks No.6 on the tour in match wins this year.
Both players will immediately head to Doha for the first WTA 1000 tournament of the season at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open. While Rybakina has a bye into the second round, Kasatkina is scheduled to play her first-round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday evening.