Aryna Sabalenka capped an astonishing week of tennis with a 6-2, 6-2 win over former World No 1 and fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in the Ostrava Open final on Sunday.
Third seed Sabalenka needed just 68 minutes to seal the first all-Belarusian WTA final.
It was a far cry from her struggles during the week. She rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the decider against teen sensation Coco Gauff, eventually winning 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (2) in the second round.
In the next match, against Spanish qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo, Sabalenka was on the brink of defeat as she was twice a point away from being 6-0, 5-0 down. But the big-hitting Belarusian turned it around, winning 12 games in a row to clinch the quarterfinal clash 0-6, 6-4, 6-0.
“I just wanted to win at least one game,” she had said after the match. “I didn’t want to lose 6-0, 6-0, it would be really crazy and too much.”
— wta (@WTA) October 25, 2020
The 22-year-old produced a more steady performance against Jennifer Brady in the semi-finals to come through 6-4, 6-4. She carried that momentum into the finals, against Azarenka, to secure her seventh career title.
Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka had beaten her younger opponent 6-1, 6-3 in their most recent clash at this year’s US Open. This was her third final in as many months, but on Sunday, Azarenka just didn’t have an answer for Sabalenka’s firepower.
Azarenka, 31, lost seven of eight points early in the set to concede an early lead. She began to flag physically in the second set, and had to call for a medical timeout.