Promising Belorussian Aryna Sabalenka shows maturity beyond the fact that she only turns 20 years old next week. This time, she reached two finals in one day this week.
Two Finals in one Week Bodes well for a good Clay Season for Sabalenka
At the Samsung Open, on the Swiss clay in Lugano, Sabelenka made the switch from hardcourt to clay seem easy. In the singles, Sabalenka outslugged home favourite Stefanie Vögele in the semis. Also, she possessed too much raw power for Camilla Giorgi the round before.
In the final, it was a case of big match jitters returning to haunt Sabalenka. These were last seen in Tianjin last season, where Maria Sharapova was the beneficiary. The Belorussian lost her nerve, after being in control. In the latest final, she just had no answer to Elise Mertens’ consistency. 60% to 78% first serves won tells the story and point-building off a robust serve, is something coach Magnus Norman knows all about. Surely, he’ll have this on his radar?
The curse of Mertens struck again hours later. The Belgian was partnered by country woman Kirsten Flipkens who defeated Sabalenka and her fellow Belorussian Vera Lapko. However, proud Federation Cup stalwart Sabalenka will be please with the effort they put in. Especially in beating the #2 seeds, Rosolska and Spears, en route to the final.
Sabalenka Could be one to watch as Clay Season Kicks in
Given her usually potent serving and volleying prowess you argue that Sabalenka is more suited to grass. However, this show of consistency suggests that a title on clay could not be far away.
Obviously, the big clay court hitters such as Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina haven’t started yet. Therefore, Sabalenka has work to do to live with them, but it can be done. Also, the consistency of Elise Mertens really troubled her in the final, so the Belorussian will need to work on how to unsettle opponents like that.
All in all, Sabalenka is emerging as one to look out for as we enter clay then into the grass court season.