2017 Tianjin Champion!

Maria has won her first title of 2017 and the 36th of her career at the Tianjin Open in Tianjin, China. Congratulations Maria!

In the final, Maria defeated Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-5 7-6 in a hard fought battle that lasted two hours and 5 minutes.

The first break of the match went to Maria as she broke her opponent in the first game, but it wasn’t plain sailing for Maria as Sabalenka won four games in a row to lead 4-1. Maria got the set back on serve in the seventh game as a netted backhand by the Belarusian gave Maria the break. At 5-5, on Sabalenka’s serve a double-fault gave Maria the break and a chance to serve for the set. Maria took her opportunity as she held her serve and took the set 7-5 in 58 minutes with a Sabalenka forehand error.

The second set was a set of two halves as Sabalenka raced out to a 5-1 lead. Maria didn’t panic and fought her way back as she won five games in a row to lead 6-5. Sabalenka then held her serve and the set was to be decided by a tie-break. The tie-break was close and Maria eventually won it 10-8 when Sabalenka hit a return out.

When the new WTA rankings are released on Monday, Maria will move up 29 spots to 57 with 1005 points.