Sabalenka beats Kontaveit in Wuhan final

Sabalenka beats Kontaveit in Wuhan final

The Belarusian beat Anett Kontaveit, 6-3, 6-3, to win the fifth Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, and become the youngest victor of a WTA Premier 5 event since Belinda Bencic won the title in Toronto in 2015.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus serves against Naomi Osaka of Japan (not pictured) in the fourth round on day eight of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The entire match was a battle of sheer strength of shooting from the baseline, and Sabalenka shot terrifically, winning a solid 78 percent of her first service points.

"It was great tennis today", Sabalenka said.

"Her game was really aggressive and I felt the pressure straight away", said the 27th-ranked Kontaveit, who has said her aim is to finish in the top 20 at the end of the year. "Always play well here".

"It's a lot of things", she offered afterwards as an explanation for her rapid improvement this summer.

After recovering from a nervous start, Sabalenka went on the attack, and Kontaveit was no match for her power. Kontaveit stood firm and fended off another break point soon later, but failed to dig for opportunities on the return as Sabalenka comfortably served out the set 6-3.

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Kontaveit was pushing for a comeback early in the second set, although judging by the circumstances it seemed highly unlikely that Sabalenka would sacrifice her lead.

The Minsk-born Sabalenka, who grabbed her first WTA title earlier this year at the Connecticut Open, is projected to climb to a career-best 16th with her victory at the Wuhan Open, a Premier 5 tournament that awards 900 ranking points.

Ranked 299th in the world, Gasparyan, 24, is the second-lowest ranked title-winner in WTA history. She'll move into the top 200 in next week's rankings. Then I start to be more relaxed... I don't know why, but I really play well here.

Sabalenka has also finished as the runner-up in Lugano and Eastbourne this year and was the best server during the final, which was the biggest match of both players' careers. "Most importantly I got to play many matches and I feel more confident. I have had a busy week playing singles and doubles, and really feel exhausted".

Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic dropped 10 of her first 11 games before rallying to upset No. 6 seed Elina Svitolina, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in first-round action in Beijing.

She notched back-to-back wins for the first time since the round 16 showing at Cincinnati with the second round victory over Vekic, and defeated home favorite Zhang in the round 16 on Wednesday and Siniakova in the quarter-final on Thursday to reach her third semifinal of the season.

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