Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina feels she is reaping the benefits of experience as she chases a second grand slam title at the Australian Open.The 23-year-old continued her fine form at Melbourne Park with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Jelena Ostapenko to reach the semi-finals.As expected between two of the biggest hitters on the women’s tour, this was first-strike tennis, with nearly three-quarters of the points being decided in four sets shots or fewer.But Rybakina was the steadier while her serve, the best in the women’s game following Serena Williams’ retirement, yielded 11 aces and was a key difference between them.Rybakina was a surprise champion at the All England Club but it would not be a shock if she ended the fortnight lifting the trophy here, particularly with the conditions favouring flat hitters.“I think of course I got all the experience at Wimbledon and it’s helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect,” she said.“I already did it once and of course I got confident that I can do it again.
I did really good preparation with the team. I’m not really surprised with the results. I’m happy. I’m just hungry to work and improve more.”Much of the focus at Wimbledon centred on Rybakina’s nationality following the banning of Russian and Belarusian players.Born in Moscow, she switched allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018 after the country’s tennis federation offered to support her financially.Quizzed again on the subject here, Rybakina, who has her family with her, unlike at Wimbledon, said: “I think at Wimbledon I answered all the questions and there is nothing to say any more.”Both players had caused upsets in the previous round, Rybakina defeating world number one Iga Swiatek and Ostapenko poweringRead more on independent.co.uk