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Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina pulls out of the Eastbourne International

Elena Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon champion, withdrew from the Eastbourne International tournament on Monday due to a viral illness, which has raised concerns about her ability to defend her title at the All England Club next week.

Ranked third in the world, Rybakina was supposed to play against Wang Xiyu on the first day of the main draw at Eastbourne on Monday.

This isn’t the first time Rybakina has faced illness-related setbacks. She withdrew from her third-round match at the French Open earlier this month due to illness and suffered a surprising defeat to Donna Vekic in the second round of the German Open last week.

With Rybakina absent, Russian player Daria Kasatkina became the highest-ranked player in action on Monday, winning her match against Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina with a score of 6-3, 6-1. The match carried political significance given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Kasatkina, who was banned from competing in Britain last year due to the conflict, acknowledged the difficult situation Ukrainians are facing and expressed doubt about the fighting coming to an end anytime soon. She mentioned that her family, including her parents, still resides in Russia, which adds to the complexity of her personal situation.

The tennis player admitted that it has been a tough year and that the circumstances are challenging, with no clear end in sight. She candidly expressed her frustration and mentioned the negative emotions she experienced after being booed off the court at the French Open following her defeat to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

Amidst the disappointment, there was some good news for British fans as Harriet Dart and Jodie Burrage won their matches against China’s Zhang Shuai and American Lauren Davis, respectively, in grueling three-set encounters.

On Tuesday, fans can look forward to seeing top players such as Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff, and Petra Kvitova in action at the tournament.


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