Elena Rybakina won her second WTA 1000 title of the year after an ailing Anhelina Kalinina retired during the second set of their Italian Open final on late Saturday night, here.
Rybakina registered a 6-4, 1-0 win after Kalinina retired from the final due to a left thigh injury.
After rain backed up play for much of the day, No.7 seed Rybakina took the trophy when No.30 seed Kalinina was unable to continue after 65 minutes. Rybakina had lost to Kalinina in their only previous meeting, on the clay courts of Charleston last year.
After winning her fifth career singles title in Rome, reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina is projected to rise to World No.4 after this fortnight, which will mark her Top 5 debut in the WTA Tour singles rankings.
This year’s Australian Open runner-up Rybakina is the first player to capture two WTA 1000 titles this season, adding the Rome trophy to her Indian Wells title. Rybakina also reached a third WTA 1000 final this year in Miami, and she is 19-2 at WTA 1000 events so far in 2023.
Only two other players in the Open Era have reached finals at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome in the same season: Monica Seles in 1991 and Maria Sharapova in 2012.
Rybakina has won 28 tour-level matches this year, tied for second place on tour with World No.1 Iga Swiatek. Only World No.2 and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has won more matches this year, with 29.
Hunter-Mertens win doubles title
No.4 seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens captured their first team title at the Italian Open by defeating top seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-4 in the final, here. The title is Mertens’ 17th career doubles title and Hunter’s sixth. Hunter and Mertens’ straight-set win over Gauff and Pegula on Saturday capped off a dominant fortnight in Rome. The Australian-Belgian duo lost just one set during the tournament, with wins over Flipkens/Rosolska, Rosatello/Moratelli, Danilina/Babos, Bouzkova/Mattek-Sands, and the No.1 Americans. Due to the threat of continuing rain, the doubles final, which was originally scheduled for after the singles final on Campo Centrale, was moved to Court Pietrangeli and played in front of an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd.
Gauff and Pegula came into the final riding a strong wave of form. The duo was into their third consecutive WTA 1000 final, a stretch that included their second title of the season at the Miami Open.
The surge continued, as Hunter and Mertens broke Pegula to lead 5-4 and the Belgian served out the win in clinical fashion.