A rocket from Belarus
Kiki Bertens deservedly was acknowledged for a staggering 12 months as the WTA’s ‘Most Improved Player of the Year.’
The Dutchwomen transformed her clay court and doubles prowess into an all-court threat. The 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 thriller with Halep to claim the Cincinnati Premier Mandatory perfectly portrayed her development.
However, Aryna Sabalenka is another player who could have easily been awarded this accolade.
The Belarusian led the WTA tour with a 21-8 success rate in matches going the distance to three sets. Sabalenka is the ultimate competitor, embodying the spirit of the tiger tattoo in her left arm.
"The way she competes and the way she can kind of turn into this ‘beast mode’ at a critical time, I feel like it's a very unique talent," former ATP player and now Sabalenka’s coach, Dmitry Tursunov told WTA Insider.
The duo began working ahead of the grass court campaign and Sabalenka’s game has flourished.
The 20-year-old won a debut title at the Connecticut Open before lifting the Wuhan Open trophy. Add into the mix reaching a career-high ranking of No.11, Sabalenka has truly launched herself into the talk of contenders.
Can Tursunov turn Sabalenka into a Grand Slam champion in 2019?