September 21, 2023

Open Court


WIMBLEDON – It was only a few weeks ago that Elena Rybakina lost her opening match in Eastbourne to Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

She won the first set 6-1 before Tsurenko came back to pull off the upset.

And the 23-year-old looked fairly forlorn while she was doing it, too.

The previous week, she had gone down in the second round of ‘s-Hertogenbosch to Shelby Rogers.

Fast forward just a hot minute – and she’s the Wimbledon champion.

That’s a pretty insane flip. But it’s been that kind of Wimbledon.

A couple of weeks ago, Elena Rybakina was ousted by Lesia Tsurenko in her opening match at Eastbourne. Saturday, she plays for the Wimbledon title.

Most often, Rybakina can look like a deer in the headlights on the match court. So it was fun to see her joshing with fellow Russian-turned-Kazakh Alexander Bublik on the practice court.

In fact, Rybakina was the one who warmed him up in Eastbourne for his first-round match against Frances Tiafoe.

She must have been the lucky charm – Bublik came back from the brink to upset Tiafoe 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Here’s what it looked like.

Rybakina must not have been around when the two had a rematch in the third round. Tiafoe got his revenge in four sets (two of them tiebreaks) after Bublik took the first.

On Saturday, Rybakina played the biggest match of her career. And won it.

Too bad Bublik wasn’t around to return the favour on the “lucky” warmup. But it turns out she didn’t need it.

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