After a down season, Aryna Sabalenka picked it up once against in Wuhan, China where the Belarussian defending her title beating Alison Riske 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
It was Sabalenka’s first title since Shenzhen in January and the fourth of her career (3 in China).
“I can’t believe that I defend this title. I couldn’t even imagine that I will be able to do this. Right now I’m just happy. I don’t know. I can’t believe it’s happened,” Sabalenka said.
“This means a lot. This year been really tough for everyone. I was really afraid that I will be not able to defend this title. I was already saving my points on the beginning of this year. This was my problem. That’s why I couldn’t work well, couldn’t play well, couldn’t fight actually.
“Finally to defend this title, I couldn’t even imagine it’s going to happened. Right now, it’s so many thoughts going through my mind. I’m really thankful to my team because they keep staying with me.”
Playing in her biggest career final, Riske was seeking her third career title.
“She played a really solid first set. I knew going into the second, I was going to have to push back somehow. I wasn’t very forgiving of myself in the third. It kind of worked on my head a little bit. I really lost it. It was really tough,” said Riske.
“I’m really disappointed in my mentality in the third set. I think I could have brought more out of myself. Still moving forward, I think that’s something I have to work on, but obviously credit to Aryna. She’s playing amazing tennis for me and made it very difficult for me.”
Riske beat Top 10s Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova in back-to-back matches to reach the final.
“I think all in all, it was obviously an amazing week for me. It was a huge week in many regards. I’m super proud of the week I had.”
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