Italian Open: Elena Rybakina wins final as Anhelina Kalinina retires injured
Anhelina Kalinina was playing in her first WTA 1,000 final
Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina clinched her fourth WTA title with victory in the Italian Open as Anhelina Kalinina retired with a leg injury.
Wimbledon champion Rybakina was leading 6-4 1-0 when her Ukrainian opponent, who had strapping on her left leg, retired in tears after 65 minutes.
It was Rybakina’s third walkover victory of the tournament in Rome.
The win gives the 23-year-old a top-four seeding at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros on 28 May.
Rybakina has made a superb start to the year, runner-up at the Australian Open and winning the Indian Wells title.
She is the sixth woman since 2009 to win a Grand Slam or Masters title on every surface after Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza and Ashleigh Barty.
“With my game, I can play good on all the surfaces,” Rybakina said.
“It’s just for clay I need to be ready more physically and have a lot of preparation, which I don’t always have the time for after the hard-court season.”
The final got off to a late start as rain backed up play on centre court for most of the day.
Playing in her first WTA 1,000 final, Kalinina got off to a quick start, breaking Rybakina in the opening game and holding her own serve to take a 2-0 lead.
But world number six Rybakina broke back to level at 3-3 and, despite Kalinina saving four break points in the eighth game, broke again to take the first set 6-4.
“I’m really sorry that I couldn’t play. I was trying to do my best,” 26-year-old Kalinina said.
“Congratulations for the title and everything you have done this year. It’s really inspiring and hopefully I can get to your level some day.”
Medvedev to face Rune in Sunday’s final
In the men’s semi-finals, Daniil Medvedev defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in a rain-disrupted encounter, while Holger Rune fought back from a set and a break down to beat Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Russia’s Medvedev, who had not won a match in Rome before this year, triumphed 7-5 7-5 after play was suspended twice because of rain.
Medvedev took advantage of Tsitsipas surrendering a 40-0 lead at 5-5 and eventually took the first set.
The players traded breaks in the second, but Medvedev, who is hunting a fifth ATP title of the year, moved in front again after the 11th game and held serve to claim victory,
In the other semi-final, French Open and US Open runner-up Ruud claimed a tight first set before taking a 4-2 lead in the second.
However, a medical timeout by Rune for a minor shoulder problem seemed to disrupt Ruud’s rhythm and the 20-year-old Dane broke back twice to force a decider.
A double fault from Ruud gifted Rune a 3-1 lead and he faced no break points in the third set as he won 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-2 to reach his eighth ATP final.