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WTA Rising Stars...ARYNA SABALENKA (BLR)


This year's great season was also played by young Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka`s season was impressive with an incredible breakthrough year so she has a great future ahead of her at the age of 19. Her favourite surface is Hard, but she is good on other surfaces, too. Sabalenka was born on May 5, 1998, she has a career high WTA singles ranking of 73 achieved on 27 November 2017 and a career high WTA doubles ranking of 251 on 27 November 2017 too. Throughout this season, Aryna has 36-25 win-loss record, including ITF events. So far, she has won six titles in singles and two in doubles.


JUNIOR CAREER:

During her junior career, at the ITF Juniors level, Aryna did not achieve great results. Her best rankings were 225 (05 January 2015). She played the first tournament when she was 14 years old at the Minsk Cup, Polina was defeated in the qualifications by Polina Novikova (RUS) 3-6,6-7. After that, she took a break and dedicated to the tournaments on tennis europe U16 category, but returns in July 2013 to junior tournaments. She performed at the 12th Tallink Cup 2013 in Tallin, Estonia (G4). She managed to pass the qualifications, but in the first round she was defeated in a tough match against Jana Kuzovkova (EST) 6-7,6-7.

After a two-week break, Aryna returns to the itf juniors tournament, played in Minsk, Belarus at the G4 Belkanton Cup. She successfully passed through the qualifications, won in the first round, but lost to Sadafmoh Tolibova (BLR) 4-6,4-6 in the second round. By the end of the year, Aryna played two more junior tournaments, but she failed to score some bigger results. However, on these couple of tournaments she showed enviable results in spite of having played with older tennis players.

At the beginning of 2014, Aryna appeared at the G4 ALK Open Tournament in Kaarina, Finland. Finally she managed to score more than one win, she reached the semifinals where she was defeated by Natalia Belova (RUS) in two sets 4-6,4-6. Even then, junior tennis lovers realized that Aryna had a great potential. Then she played the G3 tournament in Namangan, Uzbekistan where she loses from Anastasia Chikalkin (RUS) after a great fight of 2-6,7-6,4-6. The first final for Aryna took place at the Estonia (Grade 4) tournament when Aryna was defeated in the final match by Natalya Malenko (UKR) 0-6,2-6.

Thanks to another young Belarusian tennis player Vera Lapko, Aryna gets a call for the Junior Fed Cup in September in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She played 5 matches in singles, scored 4 wins, and in the pair with V. Lapko and U.Grib 4 matches were played and they recorded 2 wins in doubles.

The first junior tournament, Aryna wins on October 26, 2014 in Vierumaki, Finland. During the tournament she displayed a fantastic form and in the finals after three sets managed to win Polina Bakhmutkina (RUS) 6-3,3-6,6-3. With great results, Aryna continues in December of the same year when she wins another trophy and enters the TOP 500. Belarus Aryna comes to the national home tournament in Minsk, without a lost set. In the final she showed the class and won another Belarusian tennis player, Hanna Kryvatulava 7-6,6-3.

At the beginning of 2015, Aryna switched to the ITF futures tournament, but also played two junior tournaments, the 2015 European Junior Championships in Klosters, Switzerland and European Summer Cups (Girls) in Granville, France. In the first tournament, Aryna wins Nikolina Jovic from Serbia in the first round, in the second round a young junior from Czech Marketa Vondrousova waited. Aryna gave good resistance, but at that moment Marketa was better and slowly defeated in two sets 2-6,3-6. At European Summer Cups, Aryna played only doubles with Irina Shymanovich, once again a great Belarusian, recorded one victory and one defeat. That's how Arina's junior career ended, less successful than her senior career, surely.

SENIOR CAREER:

Very early Aryna starts playing ITF events. When she was only 14, Aryna received a WC for the tournament in Minsk, on the home court ($ 25,000). In the qualifications she played against Mayya Katsitadze (RUS), but she was still insufficiently experienced and easily lost 2-6,3-6. The following year, Aryna performed in the same tournament, but was defeated in the second round of qualifications by Valeriya Strakhova (UKR) 2-6,0-6.

Aryna won the tournament in Antalya, Turkey ($ 10,000) at the end of December 2015. In the first round of the main draw, Aryna won the Korea-based tennis player, You-Na Sul 6-2,6-3. In the second round of the same tournament, Aryna was defeated by Adrian Lekaj (CRO) 4-6,3-6.

During the first half of 2015, Aryna made several solid results on itf events ($ 10,000) to record the first results in autumn 2015 by winning two futures tournaments ($ 10,000) in Antalya, Turkey. In the final matches, Aryna was better than Daiana Negreanu (ROU) 6-3,7-5, Nicoleta-Catalina Dascalu (ROU) 6-4,6-7,7-5. A series of great results, Aryna continues on the $25,000 tournament in Minsk, Belarus where she reached the semifinals. In the semi-final match, Aryna lost to brilliant Russian Irina Khromacheva 4-6,0-6.

In the last weeks of 2015, Aryna has played two perfect tournaments. In the first, $25,000 in Navi Mumbai, India, Aryna is reaching the final where she was defeated by Barbara Haas (AUT) after a great fight of 6-7,6-7. At the second tournament in Pune, India, Aryna won the title after winning the finals against Viktoria Kamenskaya (RUS) 6-3,6-4. Aryna finished 2015 on 548 at Wta Singles Rankings and 851 at Wta Doubles Raknings. 

At the beginning of 2016, Aryna plays in the final $25,000 Perth, Australia. She was defeated by Arina Rodionova (AUS) 1-6,1-6 in the final. In May 2016, Aryna wins $50,000 Tianjin, China. She played the perfect tournament, she won in the final Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 5-7,6-3,6-1.

In 2016, Aryna also appeared in U.S. Open qualies. Aryna played two good matches but was defeated in the second round by Mandy Minella (LUX) 6-7,3-6By the end of the year, Aryna won another tournament in Toyota, Japan ($50,000+H). In the final, Aryna defeated Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-2,6-4 and with these points came in TOP 200. 

This year, Aryna began with the Australian Open qualification, she reached the second round where she lost to Fangzhou Liu 5-7,6-3,4-6. After several defeats in the first round, Aryna returned to ITF events, played in the final of $60,000 Shenzhen, China where she lost to Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 2-6,5-7.

After failing in the qualifications of Roland Garros, Aryna played on the tournament in Manchester, Great Britain ($100,000). Thanks to her strengthened service and extraordinary strong forehands, Aryna was excellently on the grass and came to the semifinals where she was defeated by Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 0-6,2-6. In the same tournament, she also recorded victories over excellent tennis players (Blinkova (RUS), Andreescu (CAN)).

The first appearance in the main draw Grand Slam, Aryna, was recorded at Wimbledon. With a great game and great services, Aryna achieved 3 wins in the qualifications, and then recorded a victory in the main draw against Irina Khromacheva (RUS) in the second round to be defeated by Carina Witthoeft (GER) after a great resistance of 6-7,6-3,3-6.

Great results Aryna makes after the U.S. Open, played semi-finals at the WTA Tashkent, and then the first WTA Finals in Tianjin, China at Tianjin Open. In the final she met with a returning player at the WTA Tour Maria Sharapova, she showed great game but was defeated in two sets 5-7,6-7.

You can watch her match against Sharapova on this LINK

After the finals in Tianjin, Aryna also played in the Fed Cup final against USA. In the Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Aryna's perfect victory over the 13th-ranked Sloane Stephens  (LINK) showed the perfect example of her game at all-or-nothing. In her second match in the Fed Cup, Aryna was defeated by Coco Vandeweghe 6-7.1-6. She also lost in doubles with Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR).

This year, Aryna finished with a WTA $ 125,000 Series Tournament in Mumbai, India. In the final, Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) was downgraded by Aryna 6-2,6-3. In 2018, Arina will start as a TOP 80 member at WTA singles rankings.

Aryna Sabalenka is a name to remember. We must watch out for her in the future! 

TENNIS IS WORLD TEAM

The previous days, we talked about another great season of Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) -READ IT!

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