(Reuters) – Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka overpowered top seed Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-2 in the final of the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai on Sunday to lift her third singles title of the year in China.
Sabalenka, who won in Shenzhen and Wuhan earlier this year, was hardly troubled as she dispatched Bertens in 76 minutes without dropping serve and breaking her Dutch opponent three times in the contest.
Bertens held a 4-1 head-to-head advantage coming into the match but Sabalenka seemed unfazed by that statistic, firing 17 winners while her Dutch opponent’s higher unforced error count (14) proved to be her downfall.
“Well, it seems I like to play in China and China likes me too,” Sabalenka said after lifting the trophy. “It’s been a crazy year… I’m happy to finish it with a title and hopefully there are many more to come.”
Sabalenka started the stronger of the two, nearly breaking Bertens in her opening service game. She got her chance at 5-4 in the opening set when she had a triple set point, sealing the set with a crosscourt backhand winner.
Bertens saved three match points at 5-2 in the second set before a backhand return went long to give Sabalenka the title as she soaked in the applause from the crowd at the Hengqin Tennis Centre.
Sabalenka will have no time to rest though, as she heads to the WTA Finals in Shenzhen where she and Belgian Elise Mertens are the top seeds in the doubles competition and play their first match on Monday.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)