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Elena Rybakina wins Rome title when Anhelina Kalinina (leg) retires

Mar 12, 2023; Indian Wells, CA, USA;   Anhelina Kalinina (UKR)  hits a shot in her third round match against Maria Sakkari (GRE) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Seventh-seeded Elena Rybakina prevailed in the championship match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Saturday when Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina retired in the second set with a left leg injury.

Rybakina led 6-4, 1-0 when No. 30 seed Kalinina said she couldn’t continue. That gave Rybakina her second 1000-level title of the season.

Kalinina’s last serve was below average and Rybakina slammed it home for a winner to take the opening game of the second set. Kalinina immediately walked over toward the chair umpire and told her that she couldn’t stand on her left leg.

A medical trainer worked on Kalinina for a few minutes. A sobbing Kalinina, playing the biggest match of her career, repeatedly said she couldn’t continue.

The 26-year-old Kalinina was the talk of the tournament by reaching the final at a time in which the Russian invasion of her homeland continues.

Her hometown of Nova Kakhovka is under the occupation of Russian troops and her family relocated to Kyiv. Her parents serve as tennis coaches at an academy and just days ago, according to Kalinina, there was a “huge, huge bomb near them, near their academy.”

Rybakina won 20 of 22 first-serve points (90.9 percent) while winning her second title of the season. The Kazahk also won at Indian Wells in March.

–Field Level Media