Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan is 20-years old and she had her best season in her career in 2019. She ended the year ranked number 36 and it was her first top 100 finish. Rybakina’s highlights of the year included her first WTA title win at the Bucharest Open over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig. 

At the Jiangxi Open, she was runner up to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson and reached the semifinals at Hertogenbosch in Netherlands where she went down to world number seven Kiki Bertens in tight straight sets. 

Rybakina also made it to the semifinals at Luxembourg Open, but lost to German Julia Goerges. She appeared in the quarterfinals at Istanbul, Wuhan and Linz. At the start of the year in Dubai, Rybakina had her best career win over world number two Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.

It was a massive scalp and comeback for Rybakina who came from a break down in the first set and matched it with the second seed with her hard hitting shots and aces. Rybakina won the Hobart International over China’s Zhang Shuai in straight sets, but the first set was tight as it went to a tiebreaker. In total, Rybakina in her short career has won two titles and become runner-up on four occasions. 

Her style of game is aggressive and she is known for this and plays from the baseline mostly. She is extremely powerful with her groundstrokes from both sides of the court and has such a strong and accurate serve that can reach up to 177 km/h. 

Early on, in 2020, she led the WTA in aces with 144 in 25 matches before the tour was cancelled due to coronavirus. Rybakina looks to have the whole package and at only 20, expect her to continue to enhance her game and stake her claim against the world’s experienced players in the future.