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Sabalenka reaches Connecticut final

August 26, 2018

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NEW HAVEN: Germany’s Julia Goerges serves to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their semi-final at the Connecticut Open.—AFP
NEW HAVEN: Germany’s Julia Goerges serves to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their semi-final at the Connecticut Open.—AFP

NEW HAVEN: Aryna Sabalenka moved within one win of her first WTA victory after defeating fifth seed Julia Goerges 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) on Friday to reach the final of the Connecticut Open.

The 20-year-old Belarusian put Goerges under constant pressure with her aggressive style, winning 14 break points to grind the German down.

The in-form Sabalenka will be playing in her third final this season, having lost to Elise Mertens at the Ladies Open Lugano in April and Caroline Wozniacki at the Nature Valley International in June.

“I will tell to myself like, ‘Okay, this is the next one, try to enjoy it, Sabalenka told reporters. “Just enjoy. Don’t put too much pressure.”

Sabalenka will meet Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the final after she secured her spot when opponent Monica Puig retired at 4-4 in the first set.

Puig took a lengthy medical timeout at 4-3 and after a quick service hold by Navarro, withdrew fighting back tears. Navarro has played very little tennis in reaching the final.

She received a walkover win in the second round when opponent Johanna Konta withdrew because of illness and Petra Kvitova also retired from their quarter-final with a shoulder issue.

She will be playing in her first final since 2016.

“It’s special because it’s my first final [of the year]”, she said. “It’s never easy to play a final, in a really good tournament like this, so I’m really happy to be on court again.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2018