Scheepers Wins First WTA Title In Guangzhou

Chanelle Scheepers is the first South African to win a WTA title since Amanda Coetzer in 2003.

Published September 24, 2011 12:00

Scheepers Wins First WTA Title In Guangzhou
Chanelle Scheepers

GUANGZHOU, China - She was the marathon woman during the week, going to three sets in every match en route to the final; but once it came to crunch time she took it to a whole new level. Chanelle Scheepers won her first WTA title on Saturday morning, beating Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets to take the WANLIMA Guangzhou International Women's Open crown.

Scheepers, the No.7 seed, recorded three set victories against Anastasija Sevastova, Hsieh Su-Wei, Urszula Radwanska and No.1 seed Maria Kirilenko to reach her first WTA final. The last few weren't routine three-setters either - she was down a match point against Hsieh, two points from losing against Radwanska and down 4-1 in the third set against an in-form Kirilenko.

"I don't remember much about the match point. I was so in the moment. I know it was a long point, but it seemed so long ago," the 27-year-old Scheepers said. "I was fighting every match - all of them were difficult in their own way."

Passing those tests may have energized her - her groundstrokes in full flight against No.8 seed Rybarikova, she cracked open the final with a love break for 3-2 and never looked back, cruising to a 62 62 win in an hour and 29 minutes.

"All of my other matches were tough, but today was the day it all clicked," Scheepers said. "I thought I was hitting my groundstrokes well. I was really consistent and tried to move her around. I didn't give her a lot of mistakes."

Scheepers is the first South African to win a WTA title since Amanda Coetzer won in Acapulco in 2003 - the year Scheepers played her first WTA main draw. "The title means a lot to me because I've worked so hard, to finally win one is really rewarding. Being the first since Amanda is the cherry on the cake."

While Scheepers had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a WTA tournament before this week, Rybarikova was playing in her third WTA final, having won her first two at Birmingham in 2009 and at Memphis this year. The 22-year-old Slovak beat No.2 seed and defending champion Jarmila Gajdosova this week.

Hsieh may have missed out on match point against Scheepers in the singles tournament, but she didn't come away empty-handed from the week - the Taiwanese captured the doubles title alongside China's Zheng Saisai, beating Chan Chin-Wei and Han Xinyun in a 60-minute final, 62 61. Hsieh won her eighth WTA doubles title, while Zheng got her first WTA title of any kind.

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