Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Sunday, 11 February 2024 19:02

Rybakina cruises past Kasatkina to claim Abu Dhabi title.

Staff Reporter.

Top seed Elena Rybakina powered to a 6-1 6-4 win over Russian Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Abu Dhabi Open on Sunday to lift her second trophy of the season and seventh overall.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion began the contest on Stadium Court in typically dominant fashion to grab an early break, but seventh seed Kasatkina struck back with one of her own only to fall behind again in blustery conditions.

Rybakina regained composure to go 5-1 up on the back of big serving as Kasatkina struggled for consistency and the 24-year-old Brisbane champion wrapped up the opening set in 25 minutes when her opponent sent a forehand wide.

The pair had come into the contest having split their four meetings - all on hardcourts - and Adelaide runner-up Kasatkina showed plenty of fight to pull two breaks back in the next set with relentless baseline hitting and stunning winners.

Level at 4-4, Rybakina turned the heat up to break the 26-year-old Kasatkina with a crosscourt scorcher and the Moscow-born Kazakh returned after a brief rain delay to secure the victory on serve.