Wang downs Svi­tolina for big­gest win of the year

Oman Daily Observer - - TENNIS/CRICKET -

HONG KONG: Chi­nese num­ber one Wang Qiang wrapped up the big­gest win of her sea­son on Satur­day, af­ter an overnight rain de­lay forced her to wait to claim vic­tory over world num­ber five Elina Svi­tolina at the Hong Kong Open. She needed just 10 min­utes on court to end the Ukrainian’s re­sis­tance, seal­ing the 6-2, 6-4 quar­ter­fi­nal win with an ace.

The 26-year-old was serv­ing for the match at 5-2 in the sec­ond set when the heav­ens opened on Fri­day evening. Svi­tolina, the tour­na­ment’s top seed, was Wang’s high­est-ranked top 10 scalp this year.

She was un­able to cap­i­talise on her stay of ex­e­cu­tion de­spite break­ing Wang to go 3-5 and then hold­ing her own serve.

The Rome cham­pion, who had been hop­ing to sew up qual­i­fi­ca­tion in Hong Kong for the WTA Fi­nals, said on Satur­day that she was “fighter” and had come back on court be­liev­ing he still had a chance.

“But in the end (Wang) had the ad­van­tage, she had the con­fi­dence def­i­nitely,” Svi­tolina said.

“Yes­ter­day she was play­ing re­ally great ten­nis — I was miss­ing a lot, my game was re­ally off.”

She added: “It was a re­ally bad per­for­mance from me so I was very dis­ap­pointed that I couldn’t play even 20 per cent of the game that I can play.”

Wang, the world num­ber 24, grabbed head­lines at the French Open with her straight-sets de­mo­li­tion of Venus Wil­liams, of­fer­ing a hint of what was to come, and later over­came Karolina Pliskova in both Bei­jing and Wuhan.

The Hong Kong quar­ter­fi­nal was a re­peat of Au­gust’s US Open third round con­test, which the Ukrainian won in straight sets, but here the tables were turned with Svi­tolina re­ceiv­ing a ten­nis mas­ter­class from her op­po­nent. ‘Ner­vous from the first ball’ Both play­ers came to the tour­na­ment in hot form, with Svi­tolina win­ning two WTA ti­tles in just four months. She is bat­tling four other play­ers, in­clud­ing Pliskova, for the fi­nal three places at the WTA Fi­nals in Sin­ga­pore later this month.

Svi­tolina, who is now look­ing for a tour­na­ment wild card to boost her Sin­ga­pore chances, is also in the hunt for a new fit­ness and main coach for next sea­son.

Wang leapfrogged Zhang Shuai to be­come China’s num­ber one women’s sin­gles player af­ter win­ning the Guangzhou Open in Septem­ber. It was her sec­ond ca­reer ti­tle af­ter the Jiangxi Open in July. She has said she is aim­ing to break into the top 20 in the new year. Wang, a semi­fi­nal­ist in Hong Kong last year, faces for­mer world num­ber one Gar­bine Mugu­ruza later on Satur­day for place in the fi­nal.

— AFP

Wang Qiang of China hits a re­turn dur­ing her semi­fi­nal match against Gar­bine Mugu­ruza of Spain at the Hong Kong Open.

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