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By Tennis Now | Sunday, January 8, 2023


No. 2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka stopped Linda Noskova 6-3, 7-6(4) in the Adelaide International 1 final to collect her 11th career title.

Photo credit: Sarah Reed/Getty

Aryna Sabalenka was in no mood to play the waiting game in Adelaide.

A proactive Sabalenka stopped Linda Noskova 6-3, 7-6(4) in the Adelaide International 1 final to collect her 11th career title.

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It is Sabalenka's first championship since May of 2021 when she defeated world No. 1 Ash Barty to win the Mutua Madrid Open.

Sabalenka credited calm disposition and her crackling drives for a title run that saw her sweep Liudmila Samsonova, Marketa Vondrousova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Noskova without surrendering a set.

"I think I'm a different player right now," said Sabalenka after winning the trophy and a champion's check of $120,150. "Maybe a little bit smarter, a little bit calmer on court. Just a little bit of everything changed."

Reinforcing her reputation as an offensive powerhouse, Sabalenka set the tone on serve.

The second-seeded Belarusian blasted 12 aces against seven double faults and won 29 of 31 first-serve points in a one hour, 43-minute triumph. It was a dramatic improvement over last year when Sabalenka spit up 39 double faults combined in a pair of opening-round Adelaide losses and was in tears at the demoralizing state of her serve at one point.

Today, Sabalenka kept going after her serve and it paid off with the title. It's the third time in her career, Sabalenka has won a tournament in the first week of a season.

"Yeah, as I said, it's a little bit easier to play when you serving better," Sabalenka said. "Yeah, I think my serve helped me a lot, today especially. I think I didn't give her much opportunities on my serve. I was able to put her under pressure on her serve. So I think that's why I won today.

"I think serve helped me a lot."

It was an impressive run from 18-year-old qualifier Noskova, who knocked off Daria Kasatkina, Claire Lu, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and No. 2 Ons Jabeur to reach her maiden WTA final. Along the way, Noskova become the youngest woman to play a WTA 500-level title match since an 18-year-old Caroline Wozniacki contested the 2008 New Haven final.

"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's always things to work on, I think."

The 102nd-ranked Noskova has rocketed up the rankings to a new career-high of No. 56 as she moves on to play Australian Open qualifying.


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