Wozniacki triumphs at Eastbourne as Sabalenka falters
The 20-year-old looked to be in with a real chance of a first WTA Tour title, but she let the Australian Open champion back in at Eastbourne.
Caroline Wozniacki won her first title since the Australian Open as Aryna Sabalenka's inexperience told in the Nature Valley International final.
Top seed Wozniacki had twice fought back from a set down en route to Saturday's Eastbourne showdown, but another turnaround was not required in a 7-5 7-6 (7-5) success.
Sabalenka, chasing a first WTA Tour title, repeatedly got herself into commanding positions before letting Wozniacki back in, failing to serve out both sets and seeing a lead slip in the tie-break.
Wozniacki's class showed and she will head to Wimbledon full of confidence, looking to add to her sole grand slam crown clinched in Melbourne in January.
The Dane was immediately under pressure and saved four break points in the opening game before slipping behind after a series of powerful Sabalenka winners.
Sabalenka, less commanding on her own serve, found the net to fall back level again, but another break followed with the Belarusian forcing her opponent long and then short to take a 3-2 advantage.
However, Sabalenka failed to serve out the set as a double fault opened the door once more for Wozniacki, who then brilliantly broke again to love to snatch the opener.
The opening three games of the second set all went against serve with Sabalenka ending the run to consolidate for a 3-1 lead, but Wozniacki hit back to level in game six.
Another break from Sabalenka again proved a false dawn as Wozniacki once more hit back immediately in the ninth game.
Sabalenka initially dominated the breaker, but a series of errors allowed her illustrious opponent to win four straight points and secure the title.