When Elena Rybakina arrived in San Jose for her WTA return as the newest member of the major winners' club, she was still mentally somewhere back at Wimbledon.

The 23-year-old, who plays for Kazakhstan, was embraced with a huge reception following her surprise run to the title at SW19, and had to adjust to the attention. Having barely reacted to winning match point, she says it's started to sink in that she is now a Grand Slam champion.

"It hasn’t been easy. But I met so many people and it was super nice to see all the kids in Kazakhstan. I didn't sleep for three days and then was resting for five," Rybakina was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Chronicle coming into her latest tournament appearance.

"When everything calmed down, I realized it was pretty special," she said.

Rybakina took a break to recover from both the victory and the reaction, and while eager to play, wasn't sure if her competitive shape would hold up.

"I had a bit of a longer vacation," she said. "It was ten days of not playing and not even fitness, it is difficult to start up again."

Rybakina dropped to 1-2 against Kasatkina.

Rybakina dropped to 1-2 against Kasatkina.


That question was answered on the opening night of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in a brutal opening round with Daria Kasatkina, the No. 7 seed. Rybakina, unseeded as a result of no ranking points being awarded at Wimbledon, bolted out to a quick lead before Kasatkina turned the tide—emphatically.

Last year's finalist set a second-round meeting with qualifier Taylor Townsend by advancing, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0, on Monday.

"I was trying to be more consistent, first of all. She’s an incredible player, she just won a Slam and she’s one of the most aggressive players on tour. What I can do is to make her miss," Kasatkina said on-court following the victory.

The 2022 Roland Garros semifinalist claimed 24 of 31 points en route to posting the decisive bagel set. Rybakina finished with 48 unforced errors to 27 winners.