DOHA, Qatar - It's official - Peng Shuai will be the new World No.1 in doubles on next Monday's new rankings, the first Chinese player ever to rise to No.1 in either singles or doubles, male or female.
Peng clinched it as she and her almost exclusive partner, Hsieh Su-Wei, won their opening match at the Qatar Total Open on Thursday against Irina Buryachok and Vitalia Diatchenko, 62 64. The No.2-seeded pair trailed by a break at 4-3 in the second set but won 12 of the last 13 points to end it.
Did Peng know going into the match that she had a chance to rise to the top spot in doubles?
"No, I didn't know!" she said. "After the match my coach came to me and was like, 'Congratulations!' and 'You're No.1!' and I was like, 'Really, are you sure about that?' And he was like, 'Yes, I'm sure!'
"This was a goal for me this year. At the end of last year we were very close to Errani and Vinci, and in Australia we had a big chance but we didn't make it. But I'm so happy I made it here in Doha.
"This is a really happy experience for me."
It has been a phenomenal last 12 months on the doubles court for Peng. Not only did she pick up five WTA doubles titles with Hsieh last year - Rome, her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Cincinnati, GUangzhou and the WTA Championships - but she also won Pattaya City alongside Zhang Shuai.
Other winners included No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik and No.4 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza, with No.6 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears the only seeded pair to go down, falling in straight sets to the wildcard pairing of Jelena Jankovic and Alisa Kleybanova, 64 64.