Tennis-Rybakina sets sights on top ranking after Indian Wells triumph

Mar 19, 2023; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Elena Rybakina (KAZ) holds the championship trophy after defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Elena Rybakina said she was targeting the world number one ranking after the Wimbledon champion defeated Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday to capture the Indian Wells crown for her first title of the season.

Rybakina, who was born in Moscow but now represents Kazakhstan, missed out on 2,000 ranking points last year after Wimbledon was penalised for banning Russian and Belarusian players in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

Her 7-6(11) 6-4 victory over the second-ranked Sabalenka in a reversal of the Australian Open final lifted her to a career-high number seven and the 23-year-old said she was determined to push on.

"I think the biggest goal is of course to be number one," Rybakina said. "There's still long way to go. So this is the end goal, I'd say.

"For now, I'm seven, but you know how quickly the rankings change. So I need to always focus on the next tournament I play. I'm just trying not to think so much about the rankings."

Rybakina's victory over Sabalenka followed her impressive win over Iga Swiatek, marking the first time a player had beaten the women's world number one and two in the semis and final at a tournament since Garbine Muguruza in Cincinnati six years ago.

"I didn't think about this, but good stat," said Rybakina, who picked up her fourth career title.

"I don't know what to say. When I come to play against anyone, I try not to think about the rankings.

"I just want to do my best. Yeah, in the end, try to win."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Tennis

Tennis-Tsitsipas says Alcaraz 'biggest obstacle' ahead of quarter-final showdown
Tennis-Sabalenka survives first set implosion to overcome Stephens
Tennis-Last 'French' player Svitolina soaks up Roland Garros love
Tennis-Tsitsipas blasts past Ofner to make French Open quarter-finals
Tennis-Records are good but now it's about the next step says Djokovic
Tennis-Wrecking ball Alcaraz swings into French Open quarter-finals
Tennis-Svitolina returns to French Open quarter-finals by downing Kasatkina
Tennis-Popular singer Zemfira spotted in Russian player's box at French Open
Tennis-Pavlyuchenkova not expecting red carpet for Russians at Wimbledon
Tennis-Djokovic edges closer to Grand Slam record with spot in last eight

Others Also Read