WTA Zhuhai: Aryna Sabalenka tops Kiki Bertens to lift the crown

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WTA Zhuhai: Aryna Sabalenka tops Kiki Bertens to lift the crown

The 4th seed Aryna Sabalenka is the champion of the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, defeating the top seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-2. It is the fourth WTA crown in China for Sabalenka out of five in total, earning enough points to finish the season in the top-11, just behind Serena Williams, despite some poor results and early exits in 2019.

Bertens had toppled Sabalenka in their first four encounters, with Aryna clinching victories in Wuhan and here in Zhuhai, winning the title at both events to wrap up the year on a high note. The Belarusian never faced a break point, hitting 17 winners and 14 unforced errors and having a clear edge in the more extended rallies to leave Bertens behind and claim the title with three breaks from eight chances created.

Kiki fended off a break chance in the second game with an ace but was powerless on the return through the set as Sabalenka rattled off one good hold after another. Waiting for the opportunity on the return, Aryna found the range in the tenth game, scoring a break at 15 to take the opener 6-4 and gather a massive boost ahead of the rest of the encounter as she dominated in both the quickest and more longer exchanges.

Bertens couldn't stay in touch for too long in set number two, suffering a break in the second game and finding nothing to work with in the return games that could have kept her in the encounter. Hitting almost 60% of the shots from inside the baseline, Sabalenka stood too strong in her service games and converted the fourth match point on the return at 5-2 after forcing an error from Kiki to celebrate her third title of the season (all in China) and finish on the same position she was at the end of 2018.