Wang lifts first WTA title at Jiangxi Open

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China's second seed Wang Qiang claimed her first WTA title after her compatriot Zheng Saisai was forced to retire injured trailing 5-7, 0-4 in the Jiangxi Open final yesterday.
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AFP

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini poses with the trophy after beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut 7-6 (9), 6-4 in the Swiss Open final in Gstaad yesterday. 

China's second seed Wang Qiang claimed her first WTA title after her compatriot Zheng Saisai was forced to retire injured trailing 5-7, 0-4 in the Jiangxi Open final yesterday.

Wang struggled to find her rhythm in the opening exchanges, allowing Zheng to seize her opportunities by mixing up baseline drives and deft drop shots.

But the match turned, with Zheng leading 5-3 and two points away from clinching the opening set, when Wang backed her incredible defensive skills to respond with a break and draw level at 5-5.

The 26-year-old Wang found another gear as she roared through eight of the last 10 points to close out the set in splendid fashion.

Zheng, who was out injured from last September to this March, complained to her coach of fatigue at the end of the first set and looked to shorten points with angled drop shots.

But Wang was up for the task with crisp volleys at the net to convert consecutive breaks of serve before Zheng, in tears, conceded the match and title to her compatriot.

Wang became the eighth Chinese champion in WTA history, and a third consecutive winner in Nanchang from the home nation after Duan Yingying and Peng Shuai.

In Moscow, Olga Danilovic also clinched her first WTA title yesterday with a 7-5, 6-7 (1), 6-4 win over Russia’s Anastasia Potapova in a battle of 17-year-olds in the Moscow River Cup final.

Serbian Danilovic, the world No. 187, is the first lucky loser to win a WTA tournament having initially lost in the final round of qualifying.

At 17 years and seven months, she is the youngest champion since Ana Konjuh of Croatia won the Nottingham event in 2015, and becomes the first player born in the 2000s to win a WTA trophy.

It was the first final featuring two players under the age of 18 since Nicole Vaidisova, 16, beat Tatiana Golovin, 17, to win the Japan Open in 2005.

In Gstaad, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini overcame second seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (9), 6-4 to win his first title at the Swiss Open in Gstaad yesterday.

World No. 17 Bautista Agut, who was playing in his first event since he suffered a hip injury in Halle, gave everything to stay in contention after fending off five break points but failed to match his opponent’s powerful groundstrokes.

Berrettini snatched the opening set tiebreak 11-9, before converting a break point in the 10th game of the second to wrap up the victory.

“From the beginning until the end it was really tough to break him,” Berrettini said. “I served really good most of the days and it was an unbelievable tiebreak.

“If I lost the tiebreak, I think the match would have been really tough. I was lucky I did a really good job.”

Playing in his first tour-level final, Berrettini produced a fearless display, firing 17 aces and losing 12 points on serve in total.

He finished the tournament without dropping a set, ousting 2016 champion Feliciano Lopez and fourth seed Andrey Rublev on his way to lifting the title.

At 22, he’s the youngest Italian finalist on the ATP Tour in 15 years.

Bautista Agut is making his way back from the hip injury he picked up during the Halle semifinals, which forced him to miss Wimbledon, and was chasing the ninth ATP title of his career and third this year.

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