“Keep Moving”: Aryna Sabalenka Reveals Emotions During Rollercoaster Opener at WTA Abu Dhabi 2021

Published 01/07/2021, 6:21 AM EST
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus celebrates after winning a point during her Women’s Singles second round match against Daria Kasatkina of Russia on day five of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


The Abu Dhabi Open 2021 could not have got a better start. World No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka recently played one of the best matches of her life at the first tournament of 2021. Interestingly, Sabalenka didn’t just win the match but extended her winning streak as well.

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Playing Polona Hercog in the first match of the tournament, Sabalenka faced a lot of problems in the first set. At one point, she was trailing 2-5 in that set. However, what happened afterward was simply sensational. Sabalenka bounced back, saved 5 set-points, and went on to win the set 7-5.

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After the match, Sabalenka revealed what was actually going through her mind while she was trailing. She said that at one moment, she had made up her mind to give away that first set.

“You know why when the score was 2-5, 15-40 I just set myself like, I don’t care about this set. I just need to find the rhythm,” said Sabalenka to Essentially Sports at the post-match press conference.

She even talked about the thing she was doing wrong in the set. However, she mentioned that she managed to win the match anyhow. “Maybe I was just trying to hit returns like to find this lose motion. And somehow I won that game,” added the World No.10.

“Still have chance to win this set”- Aryna Sabalenka on her mindset when she had almost lost the first set

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus waits to return a serve during her Women’s Singles first-round match against Oceane Dodin of France on Day Two of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Although Sabalenka believed that it was too late in the first set, she still had the hope for a comeback at the back of her mind. She disclosed how she kept on motivating herself.

“I was like, kind of thinking like, okay, maybe I still have a chance to win this set. And I was just like, keep playing, keep moving. And yeah,” concluded the Belarusian player.

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It was surely her optimistic mindset that enabled Sabalenka to go on and win the first set. She didn’t face much difficulty in the second set and won it 6-2 to seal the match.

Sabalenka is surely one of the favorites to win the Abu Dhabi Open title. She will face Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round of the tournament.

 

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Anshul Singh

957 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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