Elena Rybakina Test As Big As It Gets For Katie Boulter At Wimbledon

The pair meet in the third round at Wimbledon on Saturday
10:00, 08 Jul 2023

Wimbledon witnessed an incredible upset on Thursday as Britain’s Liam Broady stunned fourth seed Casper Ruud on Centre Court. The home crowd are now hoping to see an even greater shock from British number one Katie Boulter on Saturday.

Following Boulter’s impressive display against Viktoriya Tomova in the second round, the 26-year-old now goes head-to-head with reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in round of 32. This will be her toughest test to date and one fitting for her current status as Britain’s biggest star. 

Rybakina has quickly risen to become one of the best players on the WTA Tour after claiming her first Grand Slam title in SW19 last year.

The Kazakhstan star’s skills on court have rapidly evolved since that victory over Ons Jabeur last summer as she went on to reach her second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January. This was followed by her first two WTA 1000 title wins at Indian Wells and the Italian Open.


She is constantly growing on court and Boulter will have to be at her absolute best to compete with her. Rybakina is aware that she will not have the crowd’s backing during this meeting, which could come as a boost to Boulter, but that only goes so far. The tennis has to do the talking on court and Boulter will need to get some points on the board early to give her some confidence.

Boulter could also thrive in the scenario of being a considerable underdog against the 2022 champion. It’s an opportunity that she is relishing because it will act as a marker for where she currently stands in the WTA landscape and what she needs to do to reach the level of Rybakina and world number one Iga Swiatek.


However, Boulter heads into this match in the best form of her career. She claimed her first WTA title at the Nottingham Open, her local tournament, in the build-up to Wimbledon and her displays have been befitting of her status as Britain’s top talent. She will feel that this match-up has also come at a perfect time for her. 

The Leicester-born star knows that victory over Rybakina could act as a springboard for her career. It would be as rewarding mentally as it would be physically, not to mention that it would remove another big hitter from the Championship draw. Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko have already been eliminated and if Boulter was to pull off what would be one of the greatest upsets at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the draw would be blown wide open.

The world number 89 is no stranger to pulling off a surprise at Wimbledon having beaten former finalist Karolina Pliskova in the second round last time out. This will certainly whet her appetite for more giant-killings on the biggest stage and overcoming Rybakina would be as big as it gets - and more rewarding. Her best tennis comes out on grass, which tends to be a British trait, and this could cause Rybakina more problems than she has faced in her title defence so far.

Boulter likes to play aggressively and if she can take the match to Rybakina early, along with the support of the crowd, she could pull it off. What has also been impressive about her start to Wimbledon this year is that she has shown that disruption hasn’t affected her game.

On Tuesday, while she was facing Daria Saville in the first round on court 18, the match was halted due to a Just Stop Oil protest involving the throwing of a jigsaw puzzle mixed with orange confetti over the court. 

After helping clean up the court, Boulter picked up from where she left off to claim the victory, highlighting that it is difficult to interrupt her focus. And that is exactly what she needs to take on the defending champion.

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