Aryna Sabalenka closed 2020 on the highest of notes, winning her second straight title taking Linz over good friend Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-2.
“This is something amazing,” Sabalenka said. “I don’t want to say anything, and just cross my fingers so more wins come to me. This is the perfect end to my season, so I can be happy and relaxed for my holidays and pre-season. I’ll keep working to make sure I can maintain this level next season.”
In this match-up of the top two seeds, which was also the final WTA match of 2020, it was Mertens who held a break advantage in the opener but failed to serve out the set. Sabalenka capitalized against her doubles partner and rolled from their to her eighth career title.
“The first set was really tricky,” added Sabalenka. “There were lots of ups and down, but she was playing well. I led with a break but she kept fighting for every point. There was always pressure, and we were putting pressure on each other, so it was hard to strike a balance.
Sabalenka, who won Ostrava last month, has now won her last nine matches and dropped just one set this week in Austria. And she’ll finish among the Top 10.
Mertens was seeking her first title in 18 months.
“She’s more consistent now,” Mertens added. “We saw how amazingly she played in Ostrava, too. She’s on a roll, so it’s difficult to get rhythm into the court, and just get into the court in general.”
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