ZHUHAI, China -- Duan Ying-Ying and Han Xinyun thrilled the raucous fans at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy on Thursday, as the all-Chinese pair outlasted the No.1 seeds, Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk, triumphing in a match tiebreak, 6-3, 5-7, 10-7.
Duan and Han, the lowest-seeded team in the doubles competition in Zhuhai, stand with a 1-0 record in group play, currently topping the Lotus Group. Olaru and Savchuk finish the round-robin competition with a 1-1 record in the group.
The No.1 seeds leapt to an early lead, breaking the Chinese pairing for 3-1 with a Savchuk smash on break point, and presenting the form which brought the Romanian/Ukrainian duo to a win over Liang and Yang on Tuesday.
But Duan and Han broke Savchuk's serve in the very next game to get the set back on serve at 3-2. That started a rich vein of form for the Chinese players, with excellent volleys and powerful smashes claiming them the first set.
In the opening frame, Duan and Han were 3-for-3 on break points, while Olaru and Savchuk only won 20 percent of their second serve points.
Duan and Han won the first game of the second set, extending their run to six consecutive games, before Olaru broke the streak by holding for 1-1. The set went with serve until 5-5, the only break point in that stretch coming on Savchuk's serve at 4-3.
But Olaru and Savchuk finally clinched the only break of the second set to lead 6-5 when Duan mistimed a volley into the net after an extended rally on break point. Savchuk then quickly held serve to close out the second set, sending the tilt into a decisive match tiebreak.
The match tiebreak was tight through the first two changeovers, as neither team could garner more than a two-point lead on the other pairing up to that point. But, leading 7-5, Savchuk hit a backhand into the net, which started a run of points for the Chinese tandem.
A forehand winner by an increasingly aggressive Han deadlocked the match tiebreak at 7-7, and an unforced error off the forehand by Savchuk gave Duan and Han an 8-7 lead, with the match on Duan's racquet.
A putaway by Han gave the duo their first match point, which she and Duan converted on the next point when a hard backhand barely clipped the racquet of Savchuk. Duan and Han won the final five points of the match to get their first victory in Zhuhai.