WTA Stoccarda: Rybakina stops Paolini and advances to the semifinals as first seed. Jasmine achieves best-ever ranking for an Italian player.

Elena Rybakina Beats Jasmine Paolini in Three-Set Thriller

Jasmine Paolini’s impressive week in Stuttgart comes to an end in the quarter-finals with a hard-fought battle against Elena Rybakina. Italy’s number one had dominated her first match against doubles partner Sara Errani and showed authority in the second round against Ons Jabeur, who has been in good form.

Finally, the eagerly awaited match between Paolini and Rybakina takes place, after two previous encounters were either abandoned due to injury (Cincinnati 2023) or the Kazakh player couldn’t compete (Dubai 2024). The match is closely contested, showcasing Paolini’s recent improvements while reminding everyone why Rybakina is ranked number four in the world.

The match sees momentum shifting back and forth, but ultimately Rybakina triumphs in the third set, continuing her streak of ten consecutive wins in deciding sets. The Russian-born player now holds the record for the most ‘500’ level victories in 2024 (12, same as Daria Kasatkina) and is the first player since Naomi Osaka to win ten straight matches in a deciding set. She will face either Emma Raducanu or Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals.

First Set: Paolini’s Slow Start Costs Her

The match begins positively for Jasmine Paolini, who starts off aggressively and takes an early lead with a break. She capitalizes on Rybakina’s errors, who seems slow to get into the rhythm of the match. Paolini consolidates the break with strong serving and capitalizes on Rybakina’s mistakes. However, Rybakina fights back, hitting three aces to break Paolini’s serve. Despite Paolini’s efforts, Rybakina takes the lead with a break of her own thanks to her attacking play.

Second Set: Rybakina Wastes Opportunities, Paolini Fights Back

In the second set, the match remains close until Rybakina breaks Paolini’s serve in the third game. Paolini shows determination but struggles to match Rybakina’s power. Despite a missed opportunity for an immediate break back, Paolini stays in the match. She manages to break Rybakina’s serve and level the set, eventually winning the second set 7-5 after a long, tense game.

Third Set: Rybakina Dominates to Reach the Semifinals

Paolini starts strongly in the third set, but Rybakina quickly regains control with aggressive play. Rybakina breaks Paolini’s serve twice to take a 4-2 lead. The Kazakh player’s highs are higher than Paolini’s, but she also experiences more inconsistencies. In the end, Rybakina’s consistency prevails as she wins the third set 6-3, sealing her spot in the semifinals.

Despite the loss, Paolini’s performance earns her praise from the Stuttgart crowd. She will rise to number 13 in the rankings, just 500 points behind the top 10. Overall, it was another impressive showing from Paolini, who continues to make strides in her career.