Embed from Getty ImagesAryna Sabalenka gave her fans a taste of things to come with a title in Shenzhen in the first tournament of 2019, as she survived tricky Alison Riske, 4-6, 7-5(2), 6-3. Sabalenka started the day with a semifinal win over China’s Yafan Wang, 6-2, 6-1 before turning around and handling Riske, a 2017 and 2018 finalist at the event.
In her first tournament where she was the top seed Sabalenka was up to the challenge. All week, she delivered, persevering in three sets against Tatjana Maria, winning in straights against Ekaterina Alexandrova and beating a depleted Maria Sharapova before doing in Wang and Riske on Sunday to win her 3rd WTA tour level title.
Riske rolled through third seed Qiang Wang in straights, beat Evgeniya Rodina in three sets before steamrolling Sorana Cirstea in straights and beating a hobbled Vera Zvonareva to reach the final. Riske will climb back into the top 50, while Sabalenka inches closer to the top 10.