Sabalenka clinches third straight title with easy win in Abu Dhabi


FILE PHOTO: Sep 3, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus hits the ball against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on day four of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka made a strong start to her 2021 season with a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win over Veronika Kudermetova of Russia to clinch the WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and extend her winning streak to 15 matches.

After finishing 2020 with season-ending trophies at Ostrava and Linz, the strongly built Sabalenka started her new campaign in the same vein in Abu Dhabi and will rise to world number seven when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday.

It was the ninth title overall for the fourth-seeded Sabalenka, 22. She now heads to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year at the Australian Open next month.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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