WTA Tour

Sabalenka takes 3rd straight title with Abu Dhabi win

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Aryna Sabalenka (WTA Tour - Twitter)
Aryna Sabalenka (WTA Tour - Twitter)

Aryna Sabalenka heads to next month's Australian Open brimming with confidence after she captured a third consecutive title by outclassing Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-2 in the Abu Dhabi final on Wednesday to extend her winning streak to 15 straight matches.

The 22-year-old from Belarus is the in-form player at the moment on the WTA tour and will be looking to translate her success from the smaller events into the majors, where she has yet to make it past the fourth round.

Sabalenka added a ninth singles trophy to her collection and will rise to a career-high number seven in the world when the new rankings are released next week.

"I came here to play some matches after one month of just preparation. I played six matches and it's really important and I'm really happy I could play that long and to win this title," Sabalenka told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm going to Australia, I'm confident with only one thing, that I'll do everything I can to win matches and that's the only confidence I have right now."

Sabalenka, who ended her 2020 season by clinching back-to-back titles in Ostrava and Linz, is also riding an 11-match winning streak in the Middle East, having triumphed in Doha on her last previous visit to the region 11 months ago.

She now has nearly three weeks before the start of the Australian Open which begins February 8, where she'll be considered one of the top contenders.

Sabalenka has already arranged for an exercise bike to be set up in her hotel room in Melbourne so she can still work out during the two-week quarantine period. In that 14-day window, players can only leave their rooms for five hours per day to practice.

"I will keep improving my game, keep working on some things. It's not just staying in shape," she said.

"As soon as you stop working on improving your game, you'll start losing, and I think that's the key of successful people," she added.

In the Abu Dhabi final, Sabalenka drew first blood, breaking for a 4-2 advantage by using the same suffocating kind of tennis that has kept her undefeated since the French Open third round last October. She took a comfortable one-set lead in 26 minutes.

It was one-way traffic for the 22-year-old until Kudermetova finally managed to end a six-game losing run by breaking the Sabalenka serve for 1-2 in the second set.

The fourth seed retaliated immediately though to reclaim control of the contest and it was all over in 65 minutes.

Despite her defeat, Kudermetova can take many positives from her week in the UAE into her Australian Open campaign after making it to her first WTA final and rising to a career-high 36 in the world.

"Now I have confidence, I beat good players here in Abu Dhabi and I feel OK before Australia," said the 23-year-old Russian.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Chippa United 0
loading... Live
Black Leopards 0
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
loading... Live
Pakistan 308/8
South Africa 220/10
loading... Live
Warriors 226/6
Cape Cobras 131/8
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
41% - 11502 votes
Cricket
12% - 3333 votes
Football
19% - 5198 votes
Athletics
3% - 703 votes
Boxing
1% - 272 votes
Cycling
2% - 645 votes
Golf
5% - 1421 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2350 votes
Tennis
3% - 934 votes
Water sports
1% - 248 votes
American sports
1% - 340 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 910 votes
Vote