Rain delays Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open tennis final

Elena Rybakina Photo: Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open

Rain delayed the doubles final at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open on Sunday, being rescheduled to start at 12pm (midday), with the singles final to start as planned, not before 5pm.

Elena Rybakina prevailed through three sets against Liudmila Samsonova in the first of Saturday's semi-finals to book her spot in the sold-out final after breaking her winless streak over her opponent, with a hard-fought three-set victory 6-0 4-6 6-2.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion faces an enticing showdown against Daria Kasatkina, as she aims to secure her second WTA 500 title of the season in Abu Dhabi.

In the first semi-final, Kasatkina clinched her spot after a three-set thriller against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The match, a gripping battle lasting nearly three hours, concluded with Kasatkina prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2).

The World No. 14 surged into a one-set lead and held a break advantage in the second set, before facing a resilient comeback from the Brazilian, who pushed her all the way to a third-set tie-break. 

Despite the fervent support of the Abu Dhabi crowd, Haddad Maia fell at the final hurdle in a valiant attempt to stage a comeback, having spent an astonishing 13-plus hours on court during the tournament.

American duo Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands secured their spot in the doubles final following a walkover, and are set to take on Linda Noskova and Heather Watson. The latter pair advanced directly to the championship match due to a walkover in the semi-finals, with their opponents Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera withdrawing due to injury.

The Road to Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, which aims to discover the UAE's next tennis stars, reached its conclusion with the U14 and U16 winners securing an all-expenses-paid trip to train at the prestigious Juan Carlos Ferrero Academy in Spain.

The academy boasts an impressive alumni of players, including reigning Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz, and U14 Girls winner Isabelle James, U14 Boys winner Mithun Sendilkumar, U16 Girls winner Saida Ismail, U16 Boys winner Timur Gordee, will now have the opportunity to train alongside some of the world’s most exceptional talents.

All players were presented with their trophies on  Stadium Court by former tennis player and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Mónica Puig.  

Elsewhere, Saturday’s proceedings kicked off with a lively performance from the Abu Dhabi Police Parade Band in the Fan Village, setting the stage for an electrifying semi-finals day.

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