WTA Wuhan: Aryna Sabalenka topples Alison Riske to extend Wuhan reign

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WTA Wuhan: Aryna Sabalenka topples Alison Riske to extend Wuhan reign

Aryna Sabalenka had kicked off the season with the title in Shenzhen but the results were not there in the remaining months, playing in one final after that and experiencing a poor run at Majors. The Belarusian came to Wuhan as the defending champion and there was nothing wrong with her tennis this week, going all the way to becoming the first back-to-back Wuhan champion and lifting the fourth WTA title, the third in China.

In the final clash, Aryna took down Alison Riske 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in an hour and 54 minutes, prevailing over the American just like in the title match in Shenzhen at the beginning of the season to regain the title and points.

Aryna fired 18 aces and repelled three out of five break chances to mount the pressure on Riske who stayed in touch in the opening two sets before running out of steam in the third to hand the trophy to her rival, suffering four breaks from ten opportunities offered to the Belarusian to finish runner-up in the most significant final in a career so far.

Sabalenka was off to an excellent start, squandering two break points in the second game before moving 3-1 up with deep and precise balls that drew errors from Riske. Confirming the break with a backhand winner and a hold at love, Aryna extended the advantage to 5-1 after a double fault from Alison who pulled one break back in the next game to at least prolong the set.

Sabalenka seized the third set point in the ninth game with a volley winner, moving a set away from the title against the rival who was yet to show her best tennis. That certainly happened in set number two when Alison raised her level to have the upper hand on the court, dropping eight points in her games and earning a break in game six following a forehand error from Aryna, clinching the set with a service winner at 5-3 to bring the decider and extend her chances.

There, Sabalenka restored the order and sailed through her service games, challenging Riske to repeat that if she wanted to stay in the title chase. That didn't happen, though, with the American getting broken in the second game after a double fault and again in game four following a backhand error, allowing Aryna to seal the deal with an ace at 5-1 and celebrate the fourth WTA crown.