Sabalenka Claims Second Title Of 2018


Wuhan Open, China

Championship Match:  [20] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [27] Anett Kontaveit (EST)

It was their first meeting and it was another dominant performance from the Belarusian. If there were any nerves, Sabalenka did not display them. She also surprised me with her ability to adapt so quickly and she brought out the drop shot to disrupt Kontaveit’s rhythm.

In total contrast, the more seasoned player was the one to show the negative effects of nerves.  Kontaveit had an easy overhead early in the first set and she set it long. She became so frazzled by the error that she lost her focus. The brief period of distraction was all Sabalenka needed to strike and she did so by breaking serve the first opportunity she got.

Was Kontaveit’s heavily taped left thigh an issue? She never seemed to be in pain and there was no hesitation in her movement; therefore, I do not think it was an issue. The problem was simply that her opponent out played her in power and accuracy.

Although Kontaveit gave it her best effort, she was unable to break her opponent. Sabalenka protected her serve very well and never gave her opponent an opening. Brimming with even more confidence once she secured the first set, Sabalenka increased the attack even more in set two.

Kontaveit had to work harder than her opponent to hold her serve the entire match and it took a toll.  She was broken in the seventh game and again in the ninth game as she served to try to extend the match. The Belarusian won 6-3, 6-3 to claim her second career singles title, the second of 2018, and the biggest title of her young career.  This was a Premier 5 event; after the majors, they are the next biggest events on the WTA Tour in terms of status and ranking points.

SOURCE OF IMAGE: (Julian Finney/Getty Images North America: Aryna Sabalenka)

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