Sabalenka stops qualifier Noskova to seal Adelaide title

tennis08 January 2023 07:45| © AFP

Aryna Sabalenka warmed up for the Australian Open by capturing her 11th WTA Tour title with a 6-3 7-6(4) win over teenaged Czech qualifier Linda Noskova in the Adelaide International 1 final on Sunday.

The big-hitting Sabalenka made a sluggish start to the WTA 500 event this week before hitting her stride and she was flying in the first set against the giant-killing 18-year-old, taking charge of rallies from the baseline to grab the advantage.

Noskova, who had defeated ailing top seed Ons Jabeur in the semifinal after wins over the higher-ranked Daria Kasatkina and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, took the tight second set to a tiebreak where Sabalenka switched gears.

A crosscourt winner set up three matchpoints for Sabalenka and the world No 5 double-faulted before closing out the contest with a booming serve for her first title in almost two years and a boost before the January 16-29 Australian Open.