NANCHANG, China -- No.2 seed Wang Qiang of China needed three sets to move into the Jiangxi Open quarterfinals on Wednesday, but finally quelled a spirited performance from Uzbekistan's Sabina Sharipova, emerging victorious by the scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
"My perseverance is the foundation of winning," Wang told the media, after her victory. "I will spare no effort to keep moving in the next match. Nanchang is a city with warmest fans and greatest facilities."
Wang extended her head-to-head record against Sharipova to 2-0 after the one-hour and 51-minute victory. Wang had 41 winners to Sharipova's 37 during the encounter. The second seed also won 76 percent of points on her first serve, as she seeks to make her first WTA final in her home country.
World No.78 Wang is guaranteed to face a compatriot in the final round: either Liu Fangzhou or No.8 seed Han Xinyun, who will play their second-round match on Thursday.
Wang claimed the only break of the first set at 2-2. Sharipova played well throughout the remainder of the set, and indeed swiftly held three break points on Wang’s serve at 3-2, to level the opening frame. But Wang used well-timed service prowess to maneuver past those hurdles and hold for 4-2, maintaining her lead.
Despite patches of solid hitting, the Uzbek was never able to get another look on the second seed’s serve, and Wang quickly raced to triple set point at 5-4. After Sharipova hit a backhand unforced error into the net on the first chance, Wang had the opening set in her pocket. The Chinese player had 10 winners to Sharipova’s eight within the first set.
Sharipova rebounded strongly in the second set, returning confidently and taking Wang’s first service game at love, en route to a 3-0 lead. Wang briefly hit her shots more consistently, and claimed the break back for 3-2 after punching a forehand winner out of the air on break point. But Wang then dropped serve again after a flurry of errors, handing Sharipova a 4-2 lead.
The unseeded Uzbek would not let an advantage pass her by again, and she held at love for a 5-2 lead. Wang momentarily quelled her miscues to hold for 5-3, but they returned in force as Sharipova served for the set, and the Uzbek leveled the match at one set apiece.
In the end, though, it was Wang who took command of the final set. Following a tough, rally-filled hold for 2-1, which she clinched with a screaming backhand winner down the line, Wang cracked the deciding set open by breaking an error-prone Sharipova for a 3-1 lead.
Wang had no problems maintaining her lead, racing to 5-2 and forcing World No.127 Sharipova to serve to stay in the match. The Chinese player closed out the match with another break for good measure, finishing the match with a backhand volley to carve a path into the quarterfinals.