NANCHANG, China - Local favorite and No.2 seed Peng Shuai captured her second career WTA title at the Jiangxi Open on Sunday, defeating Nao Hibino, 6-3, 6-2.
Both of Peng's WTA trophies have come in China, as she won her first at the Tianjin Open in 2016 after six career runner-up finishes, and she also claimed the inaugural event in Nanchang when it was a WTA 125 Series event in 2014.
"I'm so happy to get my second WTA title," Peng said. I"'d like to thank myself, beacuse I didn’t give up, and I also appreciate the people who were supporting me after I finished my surgery. It was my first time playing against her, I was a little bit nervous today, but I played better and better since the third game. I played well, and my strategy worked out today."
With 60 spots between the two players in the WTA rankings, it was Hibino who started with a bang, breaking Peng in the opening game of the match. A love hold sealed a 2-0 lead for the World No.92, but Peng began to find her feet from there, winning the next five games to turn the set in her favor.
Hibino held off the virtual bagel in the eighth game, as she battled through a six-deuce game on serve and saved a total of three set points, but was unable to break the Peng serve again as the No.2 seed wrapped up the first set.
The second set again saw Peng sprint out on a run of games, as she won five straight to put herself in commanding position after Hibino held serve to open the set.
The Japanese had just one break point oppotunity in four service games, which came in the sixth game of the set, but Peng saved the chance and came through to serve out the match a short time later.
Peng struck 18 winners to just 13 unforced errors over the course of the one hour, 27-minute encounter, as she took advantage of 21 unforced errors off of Hibino's racquet.
"I discussed with my doctor about my physical condition last year," said Peng, who's experienced a career resurgance after back surgery. "I felt my body was not 100 percent fit, but I would like to keep playing, keep going -- I didn’t expect that I could return to the top 30, but I'm No.23 now. I hope I can return top 20. I will be keep working hard."
In the doubles final, teenagers Jiang Xinyu and Tang Qianhui won their first WTA title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Arina Rodionova and Alla Kudryavtseva. Jiang, 18, and Tang, 16, were each playing their first WTA event together.