Adelaide, Jan 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) Aryna Sabalenka ended her 20-month title drought, as she claimed her 11th career singles title with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Czech player Linda Noskova in the Adelaide International 1 final on Sunday.
This is World No.5 Sabalenka's first title since she took the crown at Madrid in May of 2021, where she beat Australian Ashleigh Barty
It is the third time Sabalenka has won a title in the opening week of the season. She pulled off the same feat with Week 1 titles in both 2019 (Shenzhen) and 2021 (Abu Dhabi), according to WTA.
Sabalenka hit 12 aces and saved all three break points she faced in the final match.
Both the players dodged a pair of early break points, but Sabalenka took control by breaking for 4-2 behind a powerful backhand. She raced through the rest of the first set, dropping only one more point on her delivery as she deployed excellent serves and forehands.
Noskova, who was playing in her first career final, kept the second set much closer, and the teen was two points away from levelling the match after slamming a return winner for deuce at 5-4. However, the second set eventually moved into a tiebreak.
In the tie-breaker, Noskova fired two early double faults that Sabalenka used to her advantage, powering her way to 5-1. A winning passing shot gave Sabalenka triple championship point at 6-3, and she hit one last serve on her second match point.
The loss brought an end to a breakout week for the 18-year-old Noskova, who saved match points in her opening round of qualifying against Anna Kalinskaya and in the quarterfinals against Victoria Azarenka to reach her maiden tour final.
She claimed her first two top-10 wins over Daria Kasatkina and top seed Ons Jabeur en route to the final.
"Obviously a very tough match today. Aryna played just amazing," Noskova said. "I didn't have a lot of chances. I did have some break points, but she always served her way out of it. That was really tough to beat."
"I think that when I trust myself and my game especially, I can just freely go for it, I can definitely play and actually beat some of the best players in the world right now," Noskova said.
"That's really great feeling. But I'm obviously going to have to develop my game. There are a lot of blind spots. There are always things to work on, I think," she added.
Having started the week just outside the top 100 Noskova was bound for Melbourne as the new world No.56.