Ironwoman and this year’s breakout Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens won her first claycourt title in singles and the doubles on Sunday at the Samsung Open in Lugano, Switzerland, after spending approximately six hours on the court the previous day.
The No. 2 seed in the singles final beat Belarusian teen Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-2, for her second title of 2018 after Hobart.
“[Sabalenka is] very powerful and also has a great serve, so I tried to keep my balls deep and as aggressive as I could,” Mertens said afterwards. “I kept her moving and tried to play my game, always trying to keep one more ball in the court.”
The 22-year-old Belgian won back-to-back three-set singles matches and a doubles on Saturday due to a rainy week backing up matches.
The 19-year-old Sabalenka hit 24 winners to only nine for Mertens, but also sprayed 35 unforced errors.
In the first set it was a match until 5-5 when Sabalenka dropped serve at love and the championship became a one-sided affair.
The two again faced off in the doubles final where Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens beat Sabalenka and Vera Lapko.
The singles title raises Mertens up to a new career-high ranking of No. 17.
“Both titles came as a surprise for me, but you come to a tournament and you try to win it,” Mertens told the WTA. “I had a couple of tough matches, especially the second third and fourth matches, it could go either way but I’m happy that I pulled through.”
Mertens will this week compete for Belgium in Fed Cup at Italy.
Sabalenka fell to 0-2 in career finals.
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