Iga Swiatek’s Indian Wells 2023 title defense ended in a semifinal defeat to Elena Rybakina. The Pole, who looked out of sorts throughout the match, went down in straight sets against the Kazakh (6-2, 6-2).
This is Elena Rybakina’s third consecutive victory over Iga Swiatek in a span of four months, including her straight-sets triumph (6-3, 6-1) at the World Tennis League exhibition event.
At tour level, the two reigning Grand Slam champions previously clashed in the fourth round of the Australian Open, where Rybakina similarly overwhelmed Swiatek with a score of 6-4, 6-4.
The tennis world commended the Kazakh on achieving such a dominant feat against the World No. 1. American tennis icon Pam Shriver made a bold statement regarding the 23-year-old’s rivalry with Iga Swiatek.
The former player suggested that, owing to her recent form, Elena Rybakina is the more appropriate owner of the World No. 1 spot held by the Pole.
“If you dropped onto the planet tonight and heard #1 is playing, then it’s Rybakina,” she said on social media.
Shriver also criticized Swiatek’s approach to the Wimbledon champion’s powerful game.
“Iga is not using plan B, not resisting this onslaught of power,” she said.
Putting aside Swiatek’s below-par performance, Pam Shriver expressed excitement about the upcoming Indian Wells final between Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka, who most recently clashed in the final of the Australian Open.
“Meanwhile looking like AO final rematch and can’t wait. #rivalry” she wrote.
Iga Swiatek cites rib discomfort as reason for loss to Elena Rybakina in Indian Wells
Iga Swiatek has maintained marvelous dominance on the WTA tour for almost a year now. Thus, the tennis world was surprised to see the World No. 1 flinch in her encounter with Elena Rybakina in Indian Wells.
After the loss, the 21-year-old gave an insight into her physical state and revealed that she suffered rib discomfort throughout the match. Swiatek further remarked that the issue restricted her from going all-in.
“Tough one tonight. I gave it all but Elena was a better player. Unfortunately I’m feeling discomfort and pain in my ribs and it was challenging for me to compete at my highest level,” she said on social media.
The athlete, who is expected to defend yet another WTA 1000 title in Miami during the upcoming fortnight, stated that she will be using the next few days to recover and consult her medical team about the rib issue.
“I will consult with my team and I will definitely use these next days to recover. See you soon!” she said.