ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Aryna Sabalenka reached the final of the Abu Dhabi Open on Tuesday after winning her 14th straight match and will face Veronika Kudermetova for the first WTA title of the year.
Sabalenka had eight aces in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Maria Sakkari. Kudermetova defeated 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (8), 6-4.
“I’m really looking forward to this final,” Sabalenka said. “I’m just focusing on the right things. This helps me to, first of all, not think about all these wins, and secondly, to keep winning.”
Sabalenka finished last season with wins at the indoor tournaments in Ostrava and Linz and has won her first five matches of the new season in Abu Dhabi. The Belarusian is 8-4 in career tour finals and has won her last five.
Sabalenka will rise to seventh in the rankings if she wins the title on Wednesday.
“She gave me zero chances to come back,” Sakkari said of the match against Sabalenka. “I just couldn’t find a way. From the baseline she was dictating and playing really big.”
Kudermetova reached her first tour final after saving a set point in the tiebreaker against Kostyuk.
DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.
The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.
Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.
“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”
Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.
J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.
John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.
DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.
Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.
Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.
The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.