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PARIS – Elena Rybakina was just three months old when Serena Williams won the first of her 23 singles Grand Slam titles in 1999.
On Sunday, the native of Moscow, representing Kazakhstan, stopped the American’s bid for a record 24th place, winning 6: 3, 7: 5 and reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open tennis championship.
However, there was not much celebration on the part of the 21-year-old whose reaction was as if she had just finished training rather than defeating a real great athlete in her first match against her.
From the moment Rybakina finished her first two serving games without losing a single point, she was not at all embarrassed by her reputation as a player in the net.
And she ended the match as coolly as she “celebrated”.
“Everyone laughs at my reaction, to be honest, but I mean it’s much easier for me not to show any reaction,” Rybakina, 21, said of her lighthearted reaction to the biggest win of her career.
“Of course, there are a lot of different emotions inside. I’m happy. I’m a really calm person, but to top it off, everyone
my nerves inside are sometimes good. Sometimes, of course not, because it is impossible to keep everything inside.
“One day it will explode, and no one knows when, so it’s dangerous for other people, especially those close to you.”
Rybakina, who is only playing in her seventh main Grand Slam draw, will now face off against Russia’s 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of her last 16.
“I’m just trying to forget about this match now and focus on something else,” she said.
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