It was five months ago that Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka won Shenzhen in January, defeating the American Alison Riske. Now it's Alison Riske who has won her second career title in five years and Sabalenka has bowed at the opener of the Birmingham to her.
The Belarusian has been taking a bad hit of late and it's getting annoying not only to her but her fans and the tennis community. But in the doubles department she's been sizzling. It's just the singles that Sabalenka has hit a snag in her wins.
This year she has won the doubles title with Elise Mertens at Indian Wells and then captured the Miami Open doubles again with Mertens. Strangely enough after a strong 2018 late run, her only singles victory was this past January.
"I was so happy to start the season with a title..." she explained. She has came close though in going deep in the semifinals at St. Petersburg and Strasbourg. What has swept across her game some say is not enough rest while others profess that the more tournaments played, the more one can gain the rhythm back again.
The Belarusian's coach Dmitry Tursunov, a former ATP player had been retired for two years now and right away joined Sabalenka's team. He explains the philosophy of her winning saying, "It's the question of presenting the right information, then also for her to analyze it and be open-minded."
It is on many occasions this works, but there are drawbacks to presenting information to a player and how they receive it. Sabalenka laughingly says that "Sometimes it's like...I don't want to listen to you...it's a lot of work."
The situation now is that lately she's been bowing in opening rounds the factors of not connecting the wins round after round may simply be the obvious reasons of tiredness, the opponents' strengths being overpowering or surface issues.
It could also be more complex as to getting the right tactics and strategies on performing techniques that would foster winning and knowing what their strengths are compared to their opponents' These are just the warm up events leading to Wimbledon, the third major of the year.
Hopefully soon Sabalenka will hit the right rhythm on her next tournament and opponent to produce more consistent wins. If not, then it's back to the practice sessions on ironing out the mistakes. It may take adding a variety of strategies to produce wins again that will work before the English tournament begins.