Rybakina withdraws from Dubai quarter-final with illness

World number four Elena Rybakina withdrew ahead of her scheduled quarter-final at the WTA 1000 event in Dubai, citing a gastrointestinal illness, on Thursday.

Having won the title in Abu Dhabi, made the final in Doha and the last-eight stage in Dubai, Rybakina tallied up 10 wins from 11 matches contested across three cities in the span of 14 days in the Middle East.

The former Wimbledon champion also picked up a trophy in Brisbane last month and leads the tour with 17 victories and just three losses in 2024.

Rybakina’s decision to pull out of the tournament sends Italian Jasmine Paolini into the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event for the first time in her career.

“I hope Elena recovers as fast as possible,” said the 26th-ranked Paolini.

“It’s my first semi-final in a WTA 1000. It’s hard not to be happy.

“I think it gives me some confidence, as well, because I think, okay, today she retired, but I played great three matches here with (Beatriz) Haddad Maia, (Leylah) Fernandez and (Maria) Sakkari. We know they are all strong players.”

Paolini will next take on reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova or Romanian Sorana Cirstea for a place in the Dubai final.

Rybakina withdraws from Dubai quarter-final with illness