Julia Goerges sealed back-to-back titles for the first time in her career at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai with a straight-sets demolition of CoCo Vandeweghe.
WTA Staff
November 5, 2017

ZHUHAI, China - No.7 seed Julia Goerges reeled off 11 of the last 12 games to defeat No.2 seed CoCo Vandeweghe 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, a big-hitting affair that sealed back-to-back titles for the first time in the German's career following her win at the Kremlin Cup, Moscow two weeks ago.

Just a month ago, Goerges was on a six-match losing streak in finals, and her title drought stretched back to Stüttgart in April 2011.

Now, the 29-year-old has overturned both statistics in style - and matched her career-best match-winning streak in the process at nine, previously set by following that Stüttgart trophy up with a semifinal in Madrid.

"I think there is no better way to end this season," Goerges said. "It's been a great season. I have had a lot of tough losses in Grand Slams this year where I had to get over it, but I still continued to work hard and still continued to believe in my team and my work.

"At the end it paid off, and I'm just happy. I think I have not really any words to describe right now. I think I still can't believe it a little bit. It's actually a complete new start for me since I have achieved a new career high ranking with my new team. I got two new titles in three weeks. It's just amazing."

As expected of an encounter between two players who had suffered just five service breaks between them this week coming into the final (three for Vandeweghe and two for Goerges), the match's momentum shifts hinged on the ability of each to execute first-strike tennis.

Just six points in the entire match exceeded 10 strokes, and during the middle portion of the first set, 24 out of 28 straight points were won by the server.

It was the American who landed the first blow against her opponent's delivery, hammering huge forehands to break for 2-0. By the time Vandeweghe had progressed to a 5-2 lead, she had conceded just three points on her own serve, and none whenever she had landed a first serve.

But serving for the set at 5-3, a first double fault at 15-15 seemed to trigger a collapse for the 25-year-old: the errors, particularly on the forehand side, began to flow and her racquet began to routinely fly as she showed her frustration.

Another double fault followed at 5-5, and Goerges carved out a second consecutive break of serve as Vandeweghe netted a volley.

The World No.18 had recovered from her opening loss of serve to settle into an efficient groove behind her delivery with a 62% first serve percentage - and though some last-ditch all-out returning from Vandeweghe staved off three set points in the first deuce game of the match, a brilliant exchange of forehands on the fourth culminated in Goerges finding the most acute angle to take the opener.

"I think CoCo played a pretty good seven games. I was nowhere near finding my rhythm in these games, and she was just hitting the ball so clean and so deep," Goerges assessed. "Actually, I went away from [the] line a little bit to give me a little bit of time and go backwards and really have some time to create some opportunities for me. Luckily, I got them at 5-3. I was waiting for it to really get into the rally.

"She gave me a few loose points there which brought me back into that set. I just tried to hang in there. Somehow you always get a chance, and if you have a chance you still need to take it, but I'm very glad that I could take it."

The crumbling continued in the second set for Vandeweghe, who would wind up with a first serve percentage of just 37%.

Three further double faults followed in the first game, and consequently so did a third straight loss of serve for the World No.12. 

"I know she's very emotional in some parts, in positive and negative parts, but, no, I was just actually waiting for my chance to really get back into that first set," Goerges assessed. 

"She struggled for a few games. At 6-5, it was another tough game where she came up with some great shots, great hitting, and I just tried to stay in that game somehow serving good, serving smart. I think it's always better not to give her too much pace, because she controls big pace pretty easy."

By contrast, Goerges was going from strength to strength, employing both judicious slices and intermittent net forays effectively to drop just one point on serve in the second set.

She added: "I tried to go a little bit more body on her to really let her move her body a little bit away from the return. It worked out well. We battled out that first set, and in the second, I felt I got a little bit more in control of her and her emotions, as well."

Another Vandeweghe double fault followed in the fifth game - and, having forged a 5-1 lead, Goerges accelerated over the finishing line, hammering a pair of forehand bullets en route to sealing the title with a fifth break of serve.

Both finalists will rise to career-high rankings as a result of their exploits this week: Vandeweghe will rise into the Top 10 for the first time to finish the year at No.10, while Goerges will land at No.14 - beating by one spot her previous career high of No.15 set in March 2012.

After winning the title, Goerges earned another memorable moment: the German received her trophy from WTA legend and tournament ambassador Stefanie Graf, who was on-hand for the post match ceremony.

"We did speak before the match, because I just quickly saw her. Well, she just wished me luck and she was asking how I am. I asked her how she is. It was just a small talk, because it was right before the match, but I think she was very happy to give the trophy to a German player," Goerges said, smiling.

"Overall, I think for me it was a special moment to win my biggest title and receive, yeah, the trophy from Steffi and share the moment with her and even get her on the picture. It's very rare. I know this. I think that's probably worth it more than millions."