Aryna Sabalenka is a Belarussian tennis player who is touted as the next big thing in women's tennis.
Sabalenka has made rapid strides on the WTA tour after going virtually unnoticed in the junior circuit. By winning the Wuhan title in 2018 she established her intentions of challenging for the biggest events, a promise she has made good on with her subsequent performances.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 1st Round (2018)
French Open: 1st Round (2018)
Wimbledon: 2nd Round (2017)
US Open: 4th Round (2018)
Highest Ranking: No. 11
Style of play
Sabalenka is one of the hardest hitters on the women's tour, and knows only one way to play: all-out attack.
She takes huge cuts on both her forehand and backhand, hitting them flat and deep at all times. She also has a flat and pacy serve, which she uses to set up her powerful groundstrokes.
The Belarussian doesn't come to the net a lot, and doesn't use a lot of slices or drop shots from the baseline. She has a fairly one-dimensional game where she uses her immense strength to overpower her opponents.
Strengths and weaknesses
Sabalenka's serve is among the best in the world; it is both quick and unpredictable. She has made a habit of serving big on break points and other important moments, which signifies her ability to play well under pressure - another strength of hers.
The Belarussian has enormous groundstrokes off both wings, and can hit winners from virtually any part of the court. She never hesitates while setting herself on the baseline, and always looks to end points quickly - which she often succeeds in.
Sabalenka also has a terrific return; she can hit clean return winners against all kinds of servers. Her ability to choose her spots with her groundstrokes and returns is a great asset.
Sabalenka is a tall player, which restricts her mobility on the court a little. She is also not the greatest volleyer, and has been known to struggle to close points at the net.
Sabalenka was born in Minsk, Belarus, and comes from an athletic family. Her father Sergey Sabalenka was an ice hockey player.
Sabalenka's introduction to tennis came by chance. She and her father were driving past a tennis court when she was six, and she started playing there just to give it a try. It was love at first hit for Sabalenka and tennis, and she hasn't looked back since.
Sabalenka's role models while growing up were Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, so it's no surprise that her game is so similar to theirs.
The Belarussian didn't play a lot on the junior circuit, mainly because the Belarussian Tennis Federation persuaded her to focus on ITF tournaments instead. That meant Sabalenka never played a junior Grand Slam, and went largely unheralded before she turned pro.
Her first big breakthrough came at the 2017 Fed Cup, where she helped Belarus reach the final with wins over Viktorija Golubic and Sloane Stephens. She went from strength to strength after that, reaching the Tianjin final in late 2017 before announcing herself on the global stage with her Wuhan triumph in 2018.
Social media presence:
Aryna Sabalenka Instagram: @sabalenka_aryna
Aryna Sabalenka Twitter: @SabalenkaA