Sabalenka cruises past Azarenka for title at Ostrava Open

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) — Third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka cruised to the title at the inaugural Ostrava Open on Sunday, defeating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2 in the first WTA all-Belarusian final.

The big-hitting 22-year-old Sabalenka dominated the match but her former top-ranked opponent was visibly limited by an unspecified health problem in the second set and needed a medical time out and one more brief treatment.

It was the second title of the season for the 12th-ranked Sabalenka after the Qatar Total Open in Doha in February, and seventh overall of her career.

“I hope you’ll get better soon,” she wished Azarenka in a brief on-court speech after her victory.

The 14th-ranked Azarenka tried to come back after she received treatment when she was 4-1 down in the second set, breaking Sabalenka who then replied immediately with her fifth break and served out the match.

Last month, Azarenka eliminated Sabalenka 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of the U.S. Open before reaching the final.

The indoor hard-court event was added to the WTA tour after tournaments in China were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was given a green light from Czech health authorities to go ahead despite sport competitions being banned in this country hard-hit by the coronavirus. It was played without spectators.

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