Simona Halep on Aryna Sabalenka’s rise: ‘I was not surprised, and I’m expecting more from her’

Aryna Sabalenka swinging

There was high praise for Aryna Sabalenka from Simona Halep after her Madrid Open success, with the world No 3 saying the Belarusian is “getting closer” to replicating her success at Grand Slams.

Sabalenka won her maiden WTA 1000 title on Saturday as she beat world No 1 Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 at Caja Magica in the Spanish capital with the result seeing her rise to a career-high No 4 in the WTA Rankings.

However, the Belarusian was in excellent form heading into the Madrid tournament as she finished runner-up to Barty at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix a fortnight ago while she was also beaten by the Australian in quarter-final of the Miami Open.

Aryna Sabalenka explains how she cured her fear for clay by sticking to what she does best: being aggressive

Two-time Grand Slam winner Halep believes the 23-year-old’s success did not come out of the blue.

“It’s not surprising,” the Romanian said.”She’s playing great. Very powerful tennis. She has confidence. She can actually do a lot in Grand Slams also, so she’s getting closer to that.

“She played the final in Stuttgart, so it’s not the first result on clay.

“She’s playing really well. Yeah, I think her confidence is very high. I was not surprised, and I’m expecting actually more from her.”

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