Fifth seeded Elena Rybakina will be facing Japan’s Nao Hibino, ranked 84th in the semifinal of the Strasbourg Open 2020 on Friday, September 25. The match timings will be announced soon. Get the live streaming options of this Elena Rybakina v Nao Hibino match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Elena Rybakina v Nao Hibino Head to Head
This will be the second time these two players will be facing off in a competitive match. In their first, Rybakina had defeated Hibino in a qualifier at the 2019 French Open. Yep, Rybakina did not have enough ranking points to get a direct entry into Roland-Garros last year and this year will start off as the 15th seed.
Rybakina Continues Her Routing Ways
The Kazakh might have been shocked in the third round of the Italian Open last week by Yulia Putintseva, who was herself in some form over the last few weeks but Rybakina has seemed quite unstoppable on clay otherwise. She registered an easy win in the quarterfinal against Shuai Zhang, winning 6-3, 6-2 to march into the last four and set up this meeting with Hibino.
It was the kind of match in which Rybakina showed who is the boss on clay. Sure, the opposition wasn’t a top-10 player but Shuai is a 40th-ranked player and a toughie in her own right which she showed in the first set of their match, holding on to all but one of her service games and allowing just two break-points.
Rybakina, however, needed just one, breaking her in the fourth game and wrapping up the set thanks to that break. In the second set, the gulf became wider, with Rybakina breaking Shuai twice, in the third and the fifth game before facing three break-points.
She saved a couple, was broken on the third but turned it around and broke Shuai back in the next game before wrapping it up in two sets. In her earlier rounds, Rybakina had defeated Greet Minnen and Alize Cornet, both in straight sets.
Given the form Rybakina has been in, and the difference in the pedigree of the two players on papers, things could get quite one-sided. And with that ensure Rybakina makes her fifth final of the season following on four on hard court.
Hibino Shocks Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko had expressed her desire to return back to the top five of the rankings and to do well in Grand Slams yet again after her previous shock win over Kiki Bertens but against Nao Hibino, she was at her most frustrating as she struggled to get a move on.
The best part about the match from Hibino’s perspective was she never allowed the former French Open winner to get away from her. Like in the first set, Ostapenko broke Hibino in the second game but the Japanese broke back to bring parity at 2-2.
There was another break of serve for the Latvian to make it 4-2 but Hibino made it 4-4, before the next four games were all breaks of serve.
It looked even worse for Hibino in the second. She dropped serve twice in a row and was 5-2 down, and at 30-30 on her opponent’s serve, just a couple of points from losing the set.
The world number 84 then went on a game-winning streak to level the set at 5-5 and clinched it in a second successive tie-breaker to make it to the semifinal. It will be this very gritty, fighting spirit which makes Hibino a tough opponent to surmount.
Rybakina v Hibino Prediction & Tip
Despite Hibino’s grit, we don’t see Rybakina fall to her given the consistency the Kazakh has shown in the recent past. It would take a lot more than just fighting spirit to take her down.
Tip: Rybakina to win in straight sets: 5/6 (bet365)