Sabalenka powers her way to Shenzhen title

Amanda Anisimova beats Astra Sharma for maiden title in Copa Colsanitas

The 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka is hopeful of mounting a strong Australian Open challenge after taking the title in Shenzhen.

Aryna Sabalenka gave another demonstration of her outstanding potential by beating Alison Riske to claim the Shenzhen Open title.

Rain on Thursday meant the top seed and Riske played two matches on Saturday.

Sabalenka eased to a 6-2 6-1 victory over Wang Yafan in her semi-final and Riske had extra time to prepare for the final after winning all seven games before Vera Zvonareva retired due to a hip injury.

It was the 20-year-old Sabalenka who had the edge in the decider, coming from a set down to win 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 for a third WTA singles title of her fledgling career.

The powerful Belarusian says starting the year on such a high note has given her increased hope of mounting a challenge in the first major of the year this month.

“To start the season with a title, it gives you more belief in yourself, and hopefully I can do well at the Australian Open,” Sabalenka said. “If I need to play two matches in one day, I’m going to do that.

“Physically, it’s tough to get ready, but I tried to be focused on each point in the second match and just tried to do my best and fight for every point.”

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