After a breakout 2018, Arnya Sabaleka appears to pick up right where she left off – on the way up. Earlier in China, Sabalenka came from a set down to deny Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 to collect the Shenzhen title.
“It was a tough day for us, especially to come back after the first set. She played unbelievable, an incredible match,” Sabalenka said after winning her third title. “She was putting everything in, down the lines, and she was playing really good. I’m so happy that I found a way how to win.
“This is the third title for me, and the second one in China. I’m so happy with this result and it’s a great start of the year.”
The 20-year-old Sabalenka ranked No. 66 at this time last year, she’ll be near No. 11 on Monday.
“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. “If I need tot play two matches in one day, I’m going to do that.
“Physically, it’s tought 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.”
Riske was hoping a third in the Shenzhen final would be a charm, but it wasn’t to be for the
28-year-old from Pittsburgh.
“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.”
Sabalena has three career titles, all since mid-August.
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