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Yet another comprehensive win from Sabalenka. Kudermetova fought back briefly at the end, but Sabalenka locked it down in a hurry after the late break. Carrying the form from late last year into this one is quite impressive and a good sign, although IIRC she won Shenzhen to start the year in 2019 and failed to build momentum.

For Sabalenka, the power is there, the intensity is there, but she definitely needs to transition this kind of form to the slams. Hard to believe she hasn't reached any R16 since that US Open match against Osaka in 2018. I think she's guaranteed the #8 seed for the Australian Open now, and frankly anything short of the quarterfinals would be a big disappointment, no matter her draw.

For Kudermetova, I hope she takes the positives from the week and not this loss, although even here, signs of life: that fightback at the end, after being up break points and then saving a match point to come back to break for 2-5 is a sign of progress. A very good week, now into the top 40
 

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Sabalenka stops grunting, then starts shrieking out of nowhere and then changes her shriek how is this even allowed? Its not easy to enjoy her tennis,such a repellent player.
 

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Kudermetova's aggressive returning reminds me a bit of Garcia when she is dialled in. Anyway, she kept fighting and mostly was calm, but yeah, she was just outclassed. Unfortunate for her to get fast court Sabalenka as a final opponent, but she can take a lot of positives from this week. If she keeps this up she could reach the top 20.

As for Sabalenka, her scary form continues, and another title in the bag! More than the way she was bludgeoning her opponents to death this week (both physically and verbally with her screams), I was impressed by her improved control this week. She's really worked on her counterpunching abilities and has added a bit of dimension to her game. Many times when Kudermetova hit a return/groundstroke with great depth and hitting the lines, Sabalenka was able to return it with good depth herself or outright win the point. She was also fairly stingy compared to usual with her UEs especially in the latter half of the tournament, which is impressive considering how much force she hits her shots with.

Now she needs to somehow bottle up this form and bring it to slams. Let's see what happens!

Edit: Stats:

183904
 

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Panzerlenka is just too strong, too powerful for any girl out there to handle her:D
It's simply unfair - it looks like she's coming from another league to toy with the minors lol. AO is hers 100% if she somehow overcomes her silly mental block at the slams
 

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Fuck yes Aryna!!! Fifteen wins in a row now I believe? Title number nine? Seventh seed in Melbourne!

I wonder if she should skip the Melbourne warmup as she doesn't want to peak too soon but I guess in more than two weeks she'll be a tiger out of a cage and wanting more matches.

Such a great attitude.
 

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Congrats to both on a very good week! Those trophies tho, they look like ITF 15k ones, come on!
Is it even a trophy or just some flowers? Hopefully they send her something she can actually keep!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Time to do it in a slam now...
That's the big worry, that the longer she fails to break through at a slam the more of a thing it becomes. Much like Zverev on the men's side before he made his first QF or even SF at a major.

But I agree with @Kurmay3Katti that Sabalenka seems to have added a bit to her ground game during the offseason. More shape to her rallying shots and less spraying errors. The kind of balance between power and control we've wanted to see for a while (and not just from her, Keys and Ostapenko could take a lesson in whatever Sabalenka's changed).
 

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Is it even a trophy or just some flowers? Hopefully they send her something she can actually keep!
I actually thought it was the flowers usually coming with the trophy, and I realized there was no trophy coming after, which is a bit awkward
 

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Wow 3 titles in a row. That’s Very good. Up to AUO now. Maybe she can win her first GS. Only stop that annoying screaming girl !
 

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She’s in terrifying form. Looked invincible out there, and what impressed me most was the clarity in her game (which is something she’s often lacking in). Her instincts and decision-making were on point and she never for a moment took her foot off Kudermetova’s neck. Even in the two games she was broken there was a bit of luck involved and she still pressed to almost hold. Her return of serve has been relentless these past two matches.

I agree with the comments about bringing it to the slams, but even if she doesn’t go super deep in AO, it’s just great to see a WTA player in this kind of elite form regardless of where it is.
 

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This time Sabalenka is getting it done in AO... damn it's hard to beat this girl. The power and intensity she brings to the game, unrelenting stuff.
 

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Rybakina can be proud that she was the only one to manage to take a set off Sabalenka this tournament, that truly was the real final of the tournament. Kudermetova should also be proud of her first runner up trophy and the fact that she fought enough to avoid the bakery product.

But man...even with the two breaks given up by Aryna, not once during that match was there any doubt that she was going to win this.
 

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Ever since Sabalenka came through those shaky matches against Gauff and Sorribes Tormo, she has been a different player. Before that she seemed so hit and miss, well more miss. Since then she has played with power but more thought and plan and it has paid off big style. She seems to have matured as a player and that has made her a force to be reckoned with.

I like the fact that she enjoys the game. You can hear her laughing doing her TikTok jump or whatever it is on the court.
 

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Kinda weird feeling, but now that Aryna won 3 in a row I'm not sure what I want from her in Melbourne 500. I'm not sure if I want her to win again and enter AO with something like a 20 game winning streak to add on extra pressure, or lose a tight match to reset her win streak but that might effect her psych.
 

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Ever since Sabalenka came through those shaky matches against Gauff and Sorribes Tormo, she has been a different player. Before that she seemed so hit and miss, well more miss. Since then she has played with power but more thought and plan and it has paid off big style. She seems to have matured as a player and that has made her a force to be reckoned with.

I like the fact that she enjoys the game. You can hear her laughing doing her TikTok jump or whatever it is on the court.
Somewhere, SST is having nightmares: "What monster have I unleashed...?"
 
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