Tennis: Sabalenka captures Qatar Open for sixth career title

Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka celebrates with the trophy.
Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka celebrates with the trophy.PHOTO: REUTERS
Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka reacts during the final against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.
Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka reacts during the final against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA (AFP) - Aryna Sabalenka claimed her sixth WTA title as she swept past two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3 in the Qatar Open final on Saturday (Feb 29).

The Belarusian struck seven aces and 21 winners in an aggressive display as she proved too strong for Kvitova, who was unbeaten in her last 10 matches in Doha.

Battling to stay in the match, Kvitova created five break point opportunities in the fourth game of the second set but Sabalenka was equal to the task.

The 21-year-old clawed back with consecutive aces to clinch the game before producing a string of powerful groundstrokes to break Kvitova's serve to love on her way to victory.

It brings Sabalenka her third title over the last six months after winning in Wuhan and the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, and she will also move up to 11th in the WTA rankings on Monday.

Sabalenka dedicated her triumph to her father Sergey, who passed away in November at the age of 43.

"I lost my dad in the pre-season and he was my great motivation," she said.

"I'm doing this for him."