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Tennis: Rybakina beats Collins to sail into Abu Dhabi quarterfinals

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Tennis: Rybakina beats Collins to sail into Abu Dhabi quarterfinals

Al Rawdah, Feb 9 (IANS) No.1 seed Elena Rybakina defeated American Danielle Collins in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Open, coming from a set and a break down for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Former Wimbledon champion Rybakina has made the last eight every time she has played in Abu Dhabi. She fell at that stage to Aryna Sabalenka in 2021 and to Beatriz Haddad Maia last year.

The Kazakhstani will have the opportunity to break through to her first semifinal here against lucky loser Cristina Bucsa, who edged qualifier Heather Watson 7-6(7-1), 7-5 to reach her first tour-level quarterfinal.

Collins delivered a high-octane first set and sealed an early break lead in the second set, but Rybakina responded with an immediate break back. She was still not in full flow, though, and netted an attempted drop shot to drop serve again and fall behind 3-2, WTA reports.

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A four-deuce tussle on the Collins serve followed and would prove to be the turning point. Rybakina converted her fourth break point to level at 3-3.

Rybakina and Collins exchanged two tight service breaks at the start of the decider. But it was Rybakina who made the breakthrough in the fifth game, finding a backhand pass to break for 3-2.

Collins’s intensity was ebbing at last — the World No.71’s ratio had tipped to 16 winners and 22 unforced errors in the last two sets, while Rybakina had found 20 winners to 12 unforced errors in the same passage of play. Landing deep returns to draw errors from Collins, Rybakina broke again to seal victory.

–IANS

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