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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday January 13, 2021

Aryna Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka capped off a dominant title run in Abu Dhabi with her 15th consecutive win.

Photo Source: Getty

15… and counting.

Aryna Sabalenka kept up her dominant form and struck another resounding victory on Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi Women’s Open, powering past Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, 6-2 6-2, to claim her ninth career title.

Tennis Express

The 22-year-old will rise to a career-high ranking of No.7 in the world as a result of her victory, thanks to another vintage performance that featured 18 winnners, 13 unforced errors and 19 of 25 second serve return points won.

Sabalenka, who finished 2020 with titles at Ostrava and Linz, has now won three consecutive titles and will head to Australia as one of the top favorites.

"Every final it's really something special," said Sabalenka. "Actually I'm surprised that I could compete at this level in these conditions because I have been practicing indoors on really, really fast courts and low balls. Here is fast courts but the bounce is really high and the courts are different."

Sabalenka broke open a match that featured no breaks of serve after the first five games, she reeled off the final four games to take the opening set in 26 minutes.

She broke for 2-0 in the second set and then converted her sixth break point to take a 5-1 lead.

She couldn’t serve out the match in the next game, but broke Kudermetova, who was playing in her first WTA final, to close the victory. All week the 22-year-old has stressed that her main goal is to keep improving her tennis. She says it's the best way to keep her mind off the winning streak and ensure that she gives her maximum effort in every match.

"I think I will have a few days off because I need to recover after this week, and then I think I will keep improving my game and keep working on some things," Sabalenka said. "It's not about just staying in shape. There is always something to work on and to improve. I would say as soon as you stop working on improving your game, then I think you will start losing and I think this is the key of successful people, you need to find something that you have to work on and just work on it."

Sabalenka dropped just one set through six rounds during the week at Abu Dhabi. She says there are no guarantees that she'll be able to play as well in Australia, but is certain that she'll do everything she can to continue her torrid tennis.

"I was going here to play some matches after one month of just preparation," she said. "It was really important to play, like I played six matches, it's really important and I'm really happy that I could play that long to win this title. Going to Australia I'm confident with the only one thing: that I will do everything I can to win matches and this is the only confidence I have right now."

Kudermetova will jump to a career-high ranking of 36 as a result of her trip to the final. She entered the week with a 0-4 record in her four previous semifinals but was able to defeat Marta Kostyuk on Tuesday to reach the final.


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