Aryna Sabalenka and Veronika Kudermetova have set the final at the Abu Dhabi Open. Both players came through their respective semi-final in straight sets. In the first semi-final, the fourth-seeded Sabalenka defeated Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-2 in merely 57 minutes.
The world no. 10 hit 22 winners and had just the eight unforced errors in the match. Dominant from start to finish, Sabalenka closed out the match with two aces in its final two points. This is the Belarusian’s third consecutive final – going back to the Ostrava and Linz Opens in 2020 to finish the season – and her 14th win on the trot.
If Sabalenka wins the title, she will climb to the eighth spot in the WTA ranking, a new career-high surpassing her previous best of ninth in the ranking. Speaking with the press after the match, Sabalenka said, “I’m just focusing on the right things.
This helps me to, first of all, not think about all these wins, and secondly, to keep winning. I think I just need to keep focusing on my game, keep focusing on the movement on the court, and try to do everything I can in the moment.
I think this works really well”. She went on to add, “I just want to improve everything in my game. I think there are still so many things to go and to improve. I would say focusing on the right things helps me have fun on the court, and it makes my life a little bit easier.
I’m just enjoying the process and enjoying the game”.
Abu Dhabi Open: Veronika Kudermetova's milestone
Sabalenka’s 23-year-old opponent, Kudermetova, reached her first WTA final in quite a dramatic fashion despite the straight-set scoreline.
The Russian needed five match points to claim the 7-6(8), 6-4 win against Marta Kostyuk. Kudermetova finished with 21 winners to Kostyuk’s 22 in the 80-minute match. Prior to today’s semi-final win, the Russian’s win-to-loss record in the semi-finals of tournaments was a one-sided 0-4.
The Abu Dhabi Open final between Sabalenka and Kudermetova will be their first meeting in almost six years – going back to the ITF Antalya Open in 2015. Back then, Sabalenka claimed the win giving her a 1-0 head-to-head margin against her slated opponent for Wednesday, here. Photo Credit: WTA Insider Twitter