Sabalenka rallies to beat Riske and win Shenzhen Open

Aryna Sabalenka won her first international trophy after upstaging Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus overcame Riske to clinch the Shenzhen Open title.   -  AFP

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka won the Shenzhen Open on Saturday after a nail-biting clash against three-time finalist Alison Riske.

Sabalenka lost the first set to her American opponent, before coming back to win the match 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

The Shenzhen Open was the Belarusian's fifth WTA final in the last ten months and her first international trophy. The World No. 13 had a breakthrough season last year when she won titles at Wuhan and New Haven.

“It was a tough day for us, especially to come back after the first set. She (Riske) played unbelievable, an incredible match,” Sabalenka said.

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

A quarterfinalist on her debut in Shenzhen last year, Sabalenka lost to eventual champion Simona Halep.

Sabalenka cruised past home favourite Wang Yafan, 6-2, 6-1, while Riske beat former World No. 2 and two-time major finalist Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals on Saturday morning, after rain washed out much of Thursday's play and set the schedule behind by a day.

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