WTA Tour H2H: Emma Raducanu vs. Elena Rybakina
IN a blockbuster match set to get underway shortly, two young guns of the future face off in the first round of the Sydney Tennis Classic. The WTA Tour 500 event sees reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu up against Kazakhstan talent Elena Rybakina. Whilst the 22-year-old Rybakina is yet to win a Grand Slam, she has more runs on the board than Raducanu, winning two career titles and arguably should have more.
Raducanu’s background is one that is highly talked about, coming straight from the ITF Tour into the Grand Slams, impressing at Wimbledon, before going all the way at the US Open. Raducanu became the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam, and the first teenager to salute at the US Open in more than two decades. The British 19-year-old has won more prizemoney on Tour than Rybakina thanks to her US Open win, despite playing 200 less matches.
Rybakina on the other hand has gone about her rise steadily, following a breakout 2020 season. While many opponents would rather forget 2020 as the COVID-19 year, Rybakina made five WTA Tour finals. Unforunately luck was not on her side, only winning in Hobart and losing in Shenzen, St. Petersburg, Dubai and Strasbourg. The Hobart title backed up her win in Bucharest in 2019.
The Canadian-born Brit in Raducanu has some clean shotmaking and incredible eye-catching plays. An aggressive player with a powerful forehand, she is someone who is not afraid to generate her own power. What impressed so much about her Grand Slam win is the fact that Raducanu can also play at the net or cover the court with ease. Her play-making shot is her two-handed backhand down the line.
Ryakina also has a two-handed backhand and a powerful style. She is someone who will try and blow opponents off the court. Though less versatile than Raducanu in the way that she plays, Rybakina does have net capabilities having played in doubles format, and is just as strong off both sides. Unlike Raducanu she does not quite have the defensive strokes to match, but she has more composure when under pressure.
Unfortunately for the world number 18, Raducanu has not had a memorable run at it. Since stunning the world by blitzing everyone at the US Open, Raducanu has won two of her past five matches and had two first-up losses. Both those first-up losses in the second round of their respective tournaments at Indian Wells and Linz were to players outside the Top 100, and her only two wins have also come from players outside the Top 100.
By comparison, Rybakina is coming off an impressive Adelaide International run where she reached the final. though she fell short against Ash Barty in the final, Rybakina was able to overcome Top 50 talent Shelby Rogers, in an otherwise softer run to the final. Rybakina did end the year with three consecutive losses, but not before reaching the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic where she beat Belinda Bencic.
The match is set to be a cracker between world number 14 Raducanu, and world number 18 Rybakina. Though it could go either way, Raducanu is coming off a long break – where she also contracted COVID-19 – and with little form since her triumphant US Open win. Rybakina is running hot following an Adelaide International final, and is someone who could crack into the Top 10 this year with good form. The tip is Rybakina.