Mumbai: Top seed Aryna Sabalenka hammered Dalila Jakupovic 6-2, 6-3 in over a hour to win her maiden WTA title. The 19-year-old mercurial player displayed power packed tennis to punish her opponent and almost confirm her berth in the Australian Open main draw. She got 20k dollar as prize money alongwith 160 WTA points.
“Playing here in India felt like being at home with the weather more or less like at home. People are very friendly and nice. More importantly I enjoy eating the cheese-garlic naan. When I was coming to India from Taipei I was thinking I would get another opportunity to have garlic-naan. I am eating it after two years. It’s spicy but not too much, like some other food back home,” she said.
Sabalenka won ITF 25K series title in Pune last time in India. “India is lucky for me. This win will help me to book direct entry into Australian Open main draw. I have played in Grand Slam qualifiers before but it is always easy to play from main draw,” said 96-ranked Sabalenka who is set to move up the rankings and play her first main draw in Grand Slam.
Sabalenka who has already won four ITF tennis singles titles before wrapped up the first set 6-2 in 31 minutes finishing with a break. Jakupovic once served underarm to unsettle her opponent and Sabalenka admitted she was caught by surprise. “The underarm serve was surrpise for me as I haven’t experienced that before. She played very good tennis on a high level. She tried to beat me, but I was aggressive and it allowed me to take the pressure off me,” she said.
Jakupovic had an early break in the second set but Sabalenka came back firing with serves and broke back to level 2-2. Both held to make it 3-3 but Sabalenka marched ahead on break. The smart lob over tall Sabalenka earned Dalila almost break she needed to stay in the match but Saba was too good to get back and win title in style after an hour and four minutes of play.