Sabalenka wins third title of 2020 in Linz

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Aryna Sabalenka beat her doubles partner Elise Mertens 7-5 6-2 to win the season-ending Linz Open for her third title of the season.

The 11th-ranked Sabalenka, from Belarus, joined Simona Halep as the only players with three tournament wins in the shortened 2020 campaign.

Sabalenka also won the previous event, in Ostrava, matching her achievement from last year when she finished the season winning back-to-back titles.

Sunday's victory marked Sabalenka's eighth career title, while Mertens, who holds five titles, lost her second final of the season.

Sabalenka and Mertens became doubles partners in the spring of 2019 and won the US Open together a few months later.

Sabalenka, who improved to 4-2 against her 21st-ranked Belgian opponent, went 5-4 down in the opener but Mertens failed to serve out the set.

Instead, Sabalenka won six straight games to close out the first set and take a 3-0 lead in the second.

Sabalenka added another break at 5-2 and wrapped up the win with a backhand winner.