WUHAN, China - Last year’s Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka has made a head-turning return to the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, dropping just one game in a 51-minute masterclass against Danielle Collins, 6-1, 6-0.

“Definitely the tiger was here today,” said Sabalenka, who has now dropped just four games across her two matches in Wuhan. “I’m happy with the level that I showed today. It was, I don’t know, I just played really well today.” 

Read more: 'I'm the tiger' - Sabalenka embraces Asian Swing return after US Open trials

At this time last year, Sabalenka was making a name for herself with a string of stunning wins en route to her first Premier 5 title. After lifting her first trophy at New Haven, Sabalenka took down the likes of Elina Svitolina, Ashleigh Barty, Dominika Cibulkova, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Anett Kontaveit to claim the biggest title of her career. 

“It seems like I like to play in China!” Sabalenka said. “Every time I’m here I show my best level.”

Her red-hot run has since cooled off, with Sabalenka lifting just one trophy in 2019 at the Shenzhen Open, and posting a run to the San Jose final

But if her stunning 6-1, 6-0 performance against Collins is any indication, No.9 seed Sabalenka seems to be heating up again at the right time. The Belarusian reeled off 12 games in a row after an early Collins service hold, fired 19 winners and didn’t face a single break point en route to a commanding win. 

“I felt at the beginning of the match that I didn’t feel my game that good, but I just tried to put as many balls in on that side as I could,” Sabalenka explained. “I think in the second set, I felt really well and everything that was going out before was going in. 

“Yeah, everything just came in the second set. The first set was not easy as the scoreboard shows.”

In photos: High five: Previous winners in Wuhan from Kvitova to Sabalenka

Up next, the defending champion will take on either Bernarda Pera or No.6 Kiki Bertens in the third round as she seeks to return to the Wuhan quarterfinals.