Aryna Sabalenka has got a confidence boost for the upcoming Australian Open by beating Alison Riske 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3 in China’s Shenzhen Open final on Saturday.
“To start the season with a title, it gives you more belief in yourself, and hopefully I can do well at the Australian Open,” Sabalenka said.
It continued an impressive run of success for Sabalenka, who has now won three WTA titles in five months and improved her ranking from No.45 (in late June) to her current mark of No.13.
She is projected to rise to world No.11 when next week’s rankings are released and has won 24 of her past 29 matches.
Both players earlier won their semifinals after rain on Thursday disrupted the tournament schedule.
Top-seeded Sabalenka defeated local favorite Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-1, and Riske won the first seven games against Vera Zvonareva before the Russian retired due to a left hip injury.
“If I need to play two matches in one day, I’m going to do that,” Sabalenka said. “It was a tough day for us, especially to come back after the first set.
“Physically, it’s tough to get ready … but I tried to be focused on each point in the second match and just tried to do my best and fight for every point.
“She was putting everything in, down the lines … I’m so happy that I found a way how to win.”
Riske was making her third appearance in the final at Shenzhen.
“I love Shenzhen and hope to be back many years. It holds a special place in my heart, and I think it’s home to most of my finals on tour,” Riske said.
“Even though I had no one here with me this week, I feel like I have a ton of support, which is always special.”
"This backhand down the line – you need to teach me how to do this!"
— WTA (@WTA) January 5, 2019
The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on 14 January.
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