Aryna Sabalenka loses to WTA No.1 Simona Halep in Shenzhen


Aryna Sabalenka loses to WTA No.1 Simona Halep in Shenzhen


The top player of Belarus Aryna Sabalenka lost to WTA No.1 Romanian Simona Halep in the quarterfinal of the tournament in Chinese Shenzhen (prize fund $626,750), 2:6, 2:6.

19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka started 2018 with a record high position in the world rankings - 73rd place. On the way to the quarterfinals in Shenzhen, Arina defeated the Romanian Monica Niculescu and Danka Covinic of Montenegro. These players are now listed lower than Sabalenka, but they have more experience of performances at the top level.

However, to defeat Halep, Aryna definitely lacked skill. Arina powerfully entered the match, but did not surprise her opponent and made lots of errors.

During breaks, Sabalenka called coach Khalil Ibrahimov for consultation and waited for him from a universal recipe for scoring. He advised her not to end points quickly but the girl reacted sharply. "You've been telling me the same thing for a year and a half," she blurted out emotionally.

A decision to play long points did not bring effect due to unforced errors. When the Belarusian returned to the usual aggressive manner of play, then again she alternated successes with mistakes.

Statistics of the Sabalenka - Halep match:
First service: 58% - 76%
First service won: 55% - 77%
Second service won: 32% - 70%
Aces: 0 - 4
Double errors: 4 - 2
Total return points: 23% - 45%
Breakpoints won: 56% - 100%
Total points won: 36% - 64%.

Note that a year ago Simona Halep left the tournament in Shenzhen in the second round, losing to a tennis player who was below 60th place in the WTA ranking Czech Kateřina Siniaková.  In the semi-finals, Halep will take on her compatriot Irina-Kamelia Begu.