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Anhelina Kalinina withdraws from the final at the Italian Open, giving Elena Rybakina the victory

Elena Rybakina

After winning the Italian Open on Saturday, Elena Rybakina immediately focused on Roland Garros and her bid for the second Grand Slam championship of her career.

At the Foro Italico, Kazakhstan’s Rybakina won her second WTA 1000 championship of the year when Ukrainian opponent Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to a thigh injury that she had been battling all week.

At the net, Rybakina gave a distraught loser a bear hug and listened as she recounted how her physical issue had finally caught up with her.

In a long-delayed final because of weather, world number six Rybakina, the current Wimbledon winner, was up 6-4, 1-0 when Kalinina retired just after midnight.

Rybakina, 23, won the famous Indian Wells hard court tournament in March and went on to become the first woman to win two WTA 1000 championships this season.

She finished second at the Australian Open and Miami, and she is currently focused on the French Open.

She expressed hope that she would succeed at the French Open. “I enjoyed my time there as a player.

“It’s a little bit easier and (gives) a little bit more confidence now that I’ve played more clay matches.

“Being physically fit and healthy is always important. If I do that, hopefully, I can get far there.”

She sent Kalinina her best wishes for a quick recovery.

Rybakina remarked, “She has done an amazing job, I hope she is ready for Roland Garros.”

The 68-minute game didn’t start until after 11 p.m., with Rybakina apologizing to the patient spectators who had been delayed more than four hours.

The only other woman to have advanced to the finals in the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, and Rome in the same season is Rybakina, who will move up to number four in the world before Roland Garros.

The other two were Maria Sharapova in 2012 and Monica Seles in 1991.

Rybakina, an Australian Open champion and world number two, has now won 28 games this season; only Aryna Sabalenka, who is also Russian-born, has won more, with 29.

“I’m proud that I can keep up this level; with all the traveling and scheduling, it’s not simple.

I believe the team is working well, Rybakina stated. “I can see physical advancements on the court. I believe our course is sound.

But she continued, “There is still much space for improvement. However, things are now going well, so perhaps I can keep it up through the rest of the season.

The 26-year-old Kalinina said that her physiotherapy had maintained her in shape enough to compete in Rome.

In an attempt to make amends to the audience, Kalinina remarked, “I did my best but I just could not play.

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