Doubles Partners Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens on Collision Course at Linz Open 2020




After winning the Ostrava Open last month, Aryna Sabalenka will aim to win her third title of the season at Linz Open. Held in Austria, the tournament will mark the end of the WTA 2020 season. Seeded No.1, Sabalenka will square off against Italian Jasmine Paolini in the opening round.

The 22-year-old might face Jil Teichmann in the quarterfinals, who was the finalist of the Top Seed Open this year. No.3 seed Dayana Yastremska is likely to be Sabalenka’s potential semifinal opponent. Since the tour resumption, Yastremska’s best performance has been reaching the quarterfinals of the Palermo Ladies Open and she looks to end the season on a high.

However, the looming threat to Sabalenka’s campaign is her doubles partner and US Open quarterfinalist, Elise Mertens. The duo won the doubles title at Ostrava and might face off in a blockbuster final at Linz. Seeded No.2, Mertens has been in sublime form, reaching the semis at Cincinnati Masters and making to the last eight at the Italian Open.

Belgium's Elise Mertens in her third round at the French Open 2020
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Belgium’s Elise Mertens in action during her third round match against France’s Caroline Garcia REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Mertens starts her title hunt against qualifier Anhelina Kalinina. She will face either teenager Marta Kostyuk or former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva in the second round. Interestingly, the big-hitting Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova is in the same draw as Mertens and might clash against her at the penultimate stage.

Alexandrova won her maiden WTA title at the Shenzhen Open at the start of the year and made it to the semifinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Open. However, since the resumption, the No.4 seed has had a string of poor performances, with her best finish being the third-round exit from Roland Garros.

Golden chance for Aryna Sabalenka

Currently ranked No.11, Sabalenka has an opportunity to replace Serena Williams in the top-10 WTA rankings. With a gap of 35 points, Sabalenka will cement her place inside the top-10 if she reaches the quarterfinals at Linz Open.