Aryna Sabalenka will be looking to post her eighth top-10 victory of the season when she takes on world No. 8 Caroline Garcia in the China Open third round on Thursday.
Only Kiki Bertens has recorded more victories against top-10 opponents in 2018 (she has 10) and Sabalenka can get closer to the Dutchwoman’s tally with success over Beijing defending champion Garcia.
Sabalenka is also carrying a seven-match winning streak entering this clash, having won the title in Wuhan last week. The 20-year-old defeated Garcia in their sole previous meeting which came in Cincinnati in August. Sabalenka saved a match point en route to a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 triumph over the Frenchwoman there.
Ranked a career-high No. 16 in the world, Sabalenka is at 11 in the Race to Singapore and is still in contention for the top-eight season finale.
The Belarusian is bidding for a 43rd main draw win of the season – she’s one of nine players to reach 40 wins for the season (alongside Kvitova – 47, Halep – 46, Kerber – 45, Mertens – 43, Barty – 43, Bertens – 43, Karolina Pliskova – 43 and Goerges – 40). Prior to 2018, Sabalenka owned just 12 main draw victories in total.
Watch Sabalenka discuss her rapid rise in the interview above with Sport360.
Here’s a glimpse at her warm-up hit with her coach Dmitry Tursunov ahead of her match with Garcia on Thursday…
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