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Azarenka Fights Her Way to Miami Semifinals, Rybakina defeats Sakkari in Tough Battle

28 March, 2024

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan
Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan

Elena Rybakina, seeded fourth and the highest-ranked player remaining in the tournament, faced a formidable challenge from eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece but ultimately secured a hard-fought victory with a scoreline of 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4.

Meanwhile, 34-year-old Azarenka, a three-time Miami Open champion in 2009, 2011, and 2016, encountered a spirited performance from Rybakina, who hails from Moscow, Kazakhstan. The match, however, faced a significant disruption lasting 45 minutes due to a technical issue that affected the umpire’s communications and the hawkeye system.

Azarenka had to save three set points during Putintseva’s serve at 5-4 in the first set and missed out on two set points of her own at 6-5 before heading into a tie-break. Despite Putintseva’s dominance in the second set, Azarenka rallied in the third set, facing stiff resistance from her opponent but ultimately prevailing after a tussle that saw her fight off match points.

Reflecting on the challenging match, Azarenka remarked, “Yulia played great, she’s in such great form, and I really had to dig deep.” She expressed her determination to compete at the highest level and continue pursuing her dreams despite her long tenure in professional tennis.

In the upcoming semifinals, Azarenka will face Rybakina for a spot in the final, setting the stage for another intense showdown. Rybakina, the youngest player left in the tournament at 24, showcased her resilience in a grueling 2-hour 48-minute battle against Sakkari, ultimately securing victory despite facing a challenging tie-break and dealing with a potential ankle issue during the match.