Sabalenka beats Mertens in Linz for third title of season

Sabalenka from Belarus joined Simona Halep as the only players with three tournament wins in the shortened 2020 season.

Sabalenka finished the season with back-to-back titles. (FILE IMAGE)   -  AP

Aryna Sabalenka beat Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-2 to win the season-ending Upper Austria Ladies Linz on Sunday for her third title of the season.

The 11th-ranked Sabalenka from Belarus joined Simona Halep as the only players with three tournament wins in the shortened 2020 season.

Sabalenka also won the previous event, in Ostrava, matching her achievement from last year when she finished the season winning back-to-back titles.

Sunday’s victory marked Sabalenka’s eighth career title, while Mertens, who holds five titles, went 0-2 in finals this season.

Sabalenka and Mertens became doubles partners in the spring of 2019 and won the U.S. Open together a few months later.

Sabalenka, who improved to 4-2 against her 21st-ranked Belgian opponent, dropped 5-4 down in the opener.

Sabalenka added another break at 5-2 and wrapped up the win with a backhand winner.

  Dugout videos