It was a fascinating final to observe because we saw Sabalenka start amazingly playing wonderful tennis and finishing points easily. It was how many assumed the final would go as Coco Gauff tried her best but really couldn't frustrate her opponent at all.
That changed as the match went on and ultimately it flipped completely. Sabalenka couldn't hit the shots she was able to hit before and became nervous. With every miss, she sunk deeper and deeper ultimately hitting the bottom and losing the match.
It was unfortunate for the Belarusian, but it was a painful learning experience that she hopes brings her closer to her future goals. After touching down in Beijing ahead of the China Open, she spoke about some of her takeaways.
Well, my biggest takeaway was that I need to learn how to finish the points on the net (smiling). We worked a lot on my volley game. Yeah, overall, again, I got over-emotion there. I wasn't controlling myself. I was thinking all over the place in that second set. So, yeah, that's was the biggest takeaway.
It really did seem like the train went off the rails for Sabalenka, who simply couldn't calm down under all the pressure. Gauff was completely calm, knowing she had Sabalenka where she wanted her, and it proved costly for the Belarusian. She's fully aware of that.
I have to, no matter what, stick to the plan and just do what I have to do on court, just kind of like shut down all those thoughts. Also, yes, I learned that I have to -- I mean, it's not like I don't know how to play volleys. I used to play doubles a lot. Just to be brave to go there, you know? Yeah, we worked a lot after US Open on that. Yeah, that's it.
Again, I took couple of days off just to switch off and forgot about tennis because it was a really tough, tough loss for me. It was super emotional. Yeah, took couple of days off, then I start working again.