Following a titleless 2022, Alina Sabalenka is already back in the winner’s circle in the first week of 2023.
Sabalenka won her 11th singles title with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over qualifier Linda Noskova in the Adelaide International 1 final on Sunday. For Sabalenka, who is ranked 5th in the world, it is her first title since she won in Madrid in May 2021.
“I think I’m a different player now,” Sabalenka said after the win, looking back at the time between titles. “Maybe a little smarter on the court, maybe a little calmer. Everything just changed a little bit.”
Back to Victory: After going 0-3 in last year’s finals, Sabalenka regained momentum as she qualified for the WTA Finals in Fort Worth at the end of 2022, culminating in her runner-up finish to Caroline Garcia. I was. .
At her next event this week, No. 2 seed Sabalenka fully regained her winning ways, closing out the tournament with a run through the 1:43 final. Sabalenka won the trophy without losing a set all week.
This is the third time Sabalenka has won the title in the opening week of the season. She accomplished the same feat with Week 1 titles in both 2019 (Shenzhen) and her 2021 (Abu Dhabi).
Wishing Star: Despite losing in the final, it was still a breakthrough week for Noskova, who is ranked 102nd in the world. The 18-year-old became the youngest finalist in a WTA 500+ level event since Caroline Wozniacki won her 2008 New Haven title at her 18-year-old and she was 43 days old. rice field.
Read more: ‘A dream come true’: Linda Noskova goes on tour
Noskova picked up her first two Top 10 wins at the event against Daria Kasatkina and Onz Jabbar, and the Czech will surge into the Top 60 in Monday’s new singles rankings.
Match story: Sabalenka made her life easier when she played her first serve in the final, scoring 93% of the points off that shot (29/31). Sabalenka hit her 12 aces and saved all her points in her three breaks she faced in this match.
“I think my serve helped me a lot, especially today,” Sabalenka said. “I think I didn’t give him a lot of chances to serve.
After both players fended off two early break points, Sabalenka took the lead with a 4-2 break behind a powerful backhand. Sabalenka ran through the rest of the first set, deploying excellent serves and forehands that left him with just one point.
Showing exceptional composure despite playing in her first career final, Noskova made the second set very close. However, the second set eventually went into a tiebreak.
At the breaker, Noskova got off to a head start with a shot on Sabalenka After two early double faults, Sabalenka used it to her advantage to make it 5-1. With her winning passing shot, Sabalenka tripled her championship points with her 6-3, and she hit her last sterling serve on her points in her second match. I was.