CANCUN, Mexico — Top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka reached the semifinals for the second consecutive year at the WTA Finals, holding on to defeat Elena Rybakina 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Friday in a round-robin match that was repeatedly interrupted by rain the night before until being suspended late in the second set.
Play was halted Thursday night with Rybakina about to try to force a third set by serving for the second at 5-3. When they resumed, she did just that. But Sabalenka came through in the decider – although not without a bit of tension in the last game: She needed to save five break points, and then required four match points to end it.
This was a rematch of the Australian Open final in January, also won by Sabalenka.
Sabalenka went 2-1 in round-robin play at the season-ending championship and advanced as the second-place finisher in her group. Jessica Pegula, who beat Maria Sakkari on Thursday to go 3-0, finished atop their group.
Rybakina was eliminated with Friday’s loss.
There were a half-dozen rain delays during Thursday’s stop-start-stop action.
The two semifinalists from the other singles group were scheduled for later Friday, with U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff taking on Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, and four-time major champ Iga Swiatek meeting three-time Slam runner-up Ons Jabeur.