Sabalenka stops qualifier Noskova to seal Adelaide title

ADELAIDE, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Aryna Sabalenka warmed up for the Australian Open by capturing her 11th WTA Tour title with a 6-3 7-6(4) win over teenaged Czech qualifier Linda Noskova in the Adelaide International 1 final on Sunday.

The big-hitting Sabalenka made a sluggish start to the WTA 500 event this week before hitting her stride and she was flying in the first set against the giant-killing 18-year-old, taking charge of rallies from the baseline to grab the advantage.

Noskova, who had defeated ailing top seed Ons Jabeur in the semi-final after wins over the higher-ranked Daria Kasatkina and two-times Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, took the tight second set to a tiebreak where Sabalenka switched gears.

A crosscourt winner set up three matchpoints for Sabalenka and the world number five double-faulted before closing out the contest with a booming serve for her first title in almost two years and a boost before the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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