Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka’s breakout season continued today when she captured the title at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, in the all-unseeded final winning 6-3, 6-3 over Anett Kontaveit.
“Always waiting for this part of the season,” said Sabalenka of her love for the Asian swing. “I always want to be here…Probably they have to have more tournaments in China!”
The 20-year-old won New Haven in August and now has the Wuhan title under her belt after losing her first three career finals.
“I just start to be more calm on the court, don’t try to go aggressive with every shot, try to find a way,” she said of her improvement. “If I cannot put the ball in, I try to find a way.”
She says former ATP player Dmitry Tursunov, who joined her team during the grasscourt season, is a big reason for her improvement.
“I start thinking more on the court,” she said. “Before, I was just, like, hit the ball as hard as I can, it’s enough. From this summer when I start working with Dmitry, I start to think on the court. I think this is his job. Like 50% is his job, for sure.”
Sabalenka’s big groundstrokes provided the difference, especially her forehand which yielded 25 winners. Kontaveit was -5 in winners to unforced errors.
The 22-year-old Kontaveit, appearing in her first final of the year, drops to 1-3 in career finals, reaching her other three finals last year. Sabalenka improves to 2-0 this year in finals and 2-3 career.
Sabalenka after the effort will rise to No. 16 on the WTA rankings.
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Halep, Wozniacki Lead Loaded Wuhan Field; Kerber v Keys, Svitolina v Sabalenka Tues.