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ARNYA SABALENKA Eastbourne 2019

“It’s just about my brain” Aryna Sabalenka says recent tough defeats have highlighted she needs to change

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Aryna Sabalenka has won three tournaments in the last five months but says that two recent defeats have taught her the need to close out victories when facing big-name players.

Sabalenka lost in three sets to Serena Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open and went down in similar fashion against Garbine Muguruza in the Qatar Open. In both matches she had fought back to win the second set but failed to keep the momentum in the decider.

“I just spoke with my psychologist about this situation because I feel like this is nothing to do with my game – it’s just about my brain,” Sabalenka said. “I feel like I haven’t played against really top players for a long time and I kind of lost this feeling of how to push at the end and finish the match. I had this great experience playing two great matches. I hope that two matches is enough to remind me of how to beat top players.”

Overall Sabalenka is pleased with her recent form, which has seen her win titles in Ostrava and Linz at the end of last year and another in Abu Dhabi in January. “I’m kind of proud of myself that every match I’ve played has been a great battle,” the world No 8 said. “I feel like people have to do something to beat me. It’s not like I just present them with the match.”

However, the 22-year-old Belarusian admitted: “There are still some things to improve and work on. I just need to change a little bit at the end of matches. Sometimes I’m waiting for other players to make mistakes. I feel like I need to take everything in my hands and just finish the match.”


ARNYA SABALENKA Eastbourne 2019
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