Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus dominated Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the final of the inaugural Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open to win her 15th consecutive match and third title in row.
Wednesday’s Abu Dhabi final started with steady holds of serve by both players, without break points on either side, so the atmosphere was calm until 2-2. After warming up, Sabalenka surged through ten of the next twelve games to triumph 6-2 6-2. The world No.46 Kudermetova only postponed the inevitable when she broke Sabalenka while the fourth seed was serving for the match at 6-2 5-1.
After finishing last year with title runs in Ostrava and Linz, Sabalenka continued the dominance at the start of the 2021 season, posting wins over Polona Hercog, Ajla Tomljanovic, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina, Maria Sakkari and Kudermetova this week in Abu Dhabi.
Win over Jabeur was revenge for a three-set loss at last year’s Roland Garros, which was Sabalenka’s last defeat in singles. In the quarterfinals, the Belarusian won 13 of 15 service games to see off No.19 Rybakina and then stormed past No.22 Sakkari in the semis.
The world No.10 Sabalenka will rise to No.7 with this title, while Kudermetova is guaranteed to improve her career-best ranking to No.36.