Sabalenka flips the switch, defeats Azarenka in Ostrava championship

Sabalenka flips the switch, defeats Azarenka in Ostrava championship

The Belarusian twice came back from the brink of defeat in Ostrava, completing one of the more improbable title runs you will ever see.

It’s unclear what happened when Aryna Sabalenka found herself down 6-0, 4-0 to Sara Sorribes Tormo in Friday’s Ostrava quarterfinal. What is clear is that something clicked for the 22-year-old, who steamrolled her way through twelve consecutive games, stiff-armed a red-hot Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinal, then boat-raced her compatriot Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2 in the championship. It was one of the most impressive and improbable turnarounds you will ever see on a tennis court. 

While Azarenka, who received a medical timeout early in the second set due to a neck issue, was far from her best, there was no stopping Sabalenka on Sunday. Once the Belarusian gains momentum in a tournament she is difficult to stop, having won seven of her last eight final appearances. 

“This is not the best final, hopefully you will get better soon.” Sabalenka told Azarenka in her post match interview. 

Sabalenka capped off a perfect week in Ostrava, sweeping the singles and doubles title as she and partner Elise Mertens defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani in the doubles final.