Sabalenka beats Riske to win WTA Shenzhen Open

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Top seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus overcame Alison Riske of the United States 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the final of WTA Shenzhen Open here on Saturday to claim her third career title.

"This is the third title for me, and the second one in China. I'm so happy with this result and it's a great start of the year," the Belarusian said.

"To start the season with a title, it gives you more belief in yourself, and hopefully I can do well at the Australian Open," she added.

The 20-year-old won her second career title in Wuhan three months ago, when she began to attract the eyes of Chinese fans.

But Riske managed to break Sabalenka early in the first set and kept her advantage to secure a one-set edge.

In the second set, the two players broke each other once and went into tiebreaker where Sabalenka won four of the first five points en route to levelling the match.

The top seed was on fire to start the third set with a 2-0 lead. Riske broke back in the third game, only to see the Belarusian dominate her serve and crash the American again.

It's the third time in four years that Riske finished second in Shenzhen.

"I love Shenzhen and hope to be back many years. It holds a special place in my heart, and I think it's home to most of my finals on tour," Riske said.

"Even though I had no one here with me this week, I feel like I have a ton of support, which is always special," she added. 

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