Doha, Qatar: Sergey Sabalenka was the reason why Aryna took up tennis, at the age of six.
That little girl from Minsk in Belarus is now one of the most promising players capable of beating the best in the world and on Saturday, she won her sixth WTA title after swatting aside Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 in the final.
Her father tragically passed away last November at the age of 43, and Sabalenka dedicated her triumph to him.
"I just lost my dad in the pre-season and he was my biggest motivation, and I'm doing it for him," said Sabalenka who received the beautiful Falcon Trophy from Qatar Tennis Association President Nasser Al Khelaifi.
"It has been a long journey and I've put everything on tennis, I was working really hard, like I was actually only playing tennis and focusing on it and nothing else. I think I gave everything for tennis," said the 21-year-old, who is reaping the rewards for her dedication.
In Saturday's final, with HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani watching from the stands, Sabalenka was ready for everything Kvitova had to offer.
"I was really focused on each point and played every point like the last point and like I'm actually losing. That was the secret, I think, said Sabalenka who was richer by $605,000.
"I knew she was a big fighter, I knew she'd bring everything she had on this final. And I just knew that and I tried to focus on each point, because I knew that she would try to come back in the game and beat me."
Kvitova tried, but Sabalenka had the answers more often than not and was ecstatic to have won the title.
"Iit feels so amazing and I couldn't really expect the title for the first time in Doha. And especially, I mean, I love playing in China, it's, I'm doing well there, I enjoy it there, but I'm happy to win a trophy not in China."
For Kvitova, it was a lost chance to add to her 2018 title in Doha and the 29-year-old conceded Sabalenka was far better player on the day.
"First of all definitely Aryna played an amazing match. For sure she didn't give me anything for free, I had to just chance once in the second set for a break of her serve, but I just couldn't make it. But it was a very tight game and probably that's really helped her to win the second set.
"But definitely she played really great as she played all week, so definitely she deserves it, for sure," said the former world no.2.