Rybakina books fourth season final with Dubai victory

Elena Rybakina outlasted Petra Martic to reach the Dubai final

Elena Rybakina will play her fourth final of the season after a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/2) defeat of Petra Martic on Friday at the Dubai Championships.

The Kazakh who has won a WTA-leading 19 matches in 2020, took two and a quarter hours to outlast her move experienced Croatian opponent who led 3-0 in the second set.

The 19th-ranked Rybakina will play for the title on Saturday against the winner from top seed Simon Halep and US qualifier Jennifer Brady.

Rybakina won the Hobart title last month and finished runner-up in Shenzhen and St Petersburg.

After a modest 2019 season, the 20-year-old has improved 150 places to 19th in the rankings.

"It's amazing," she said. "Hopefully, I can continue to play like this this year and next year also.

"The first set, it was not easy because she plays good, with really good slices.

"In the second set, of course, I was 3-0 down, but I knew it was going to be easier to win that set than play a third one.

"In the important moments I managed to serve really good. I was fighting every point, just fighting."

Martic, ranked 15th, reached the semis without losing a set. She has yet to win a career title.

Rybakina saved set points in both sets. In the opener she also wasted three set points before ending the tie break with a crisp volley winner at the net.

She went down a break early in the second set to trail 3-0 but hit back to level at 4-4.

Rybakina saved a pair of set points in the 12th game to force a tiebreaker and dominated in the decider to advance.

Elena Rybakina outlasted Petra Martic to reach the Dubai final