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Sabalenka wins Shenzhen Open, beats Riske in final

January 5, 2019

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Aryna Sabalenka got a confidence boost for the upcoming Australian Open after beating Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the Shenzhen Open final on Saturday.

“To start the season with a title, it gives you more belief in yourself, and hopefully I can do well at the Australian Open,” Sabalenka said.

Both players earlier won their semifinals after rain on Thursday disrupted the tournament schedule. Top-seeded Sabalenka defeated local favorite Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-1, and Riske won the first seven games against Vera Zvonareva before the Russian retired due to a left hip injury.

“If I need to play two matches in one day, I’m going to do that,” Sabalenka said.

Riske was making her third appearance in the final at Shenzhen.

“It was a tough day for us, especially to come back after the first set,” Sabalenka said. “She was putting everything in, down the lines ... I’m so happy that I found a way how to win.”

The Australian Open starts Jan. 14.

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