Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka became the first player to defend the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open title since the tournament was established in 2014, beating unseeded American Alison Riske 6-3 3-6 6-1 in Saturday’s final.
The world No.14 Sabalenka won five of the first six games in the first set. In the second set, even though the ninth-seeded Sabalenka hit as many as nine aces to her opponent’s zero, Riske never faced a break point and converted one of her four break chances to send the match to the decider in which Sabalenka regained control and sealed her fourth career WTA title, third on Chinese soil.
Even though she lost, the 29-year-old Riske will make her debut in the Top 30 when the new rankings are released on Monday, rising from her current position of No.35.
En route to the 2019 Dongefeng Motor Wuhan Open title, Sabalenka defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round, Danielle Collins in the second, sixth seed Kiki Bertens in the third, Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals, world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the semis, and finally Alison Riske, whom she also conquered in the Shenzhen Open final early into this season.
The Nike-sponsored Sabalenka’s Wuhan winning apparel includes the black version of the Fall Slam NY Tank, purple Fall Slam NY Skirt, and Air Zoom Vapor X tennis shoes. The look inspired by graffiti seen on the walls of the Big Apple was launched at the US Open.
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