TIANJIN, China - Rebecca Peterson claimed her second title in China in as many months after fighting past a resurgent Heather Watson in straight sets to lift the Tianjin Open trophy, 6-4, 6-4.
“I got my first title in Nanchang just a couple of weeks ago, and now I’ve got my second title so I’m obviously enjoying my stay here in China,” Peterson joked in her post-match press conference.
“I think the tournaments here are doing their best to make the players feel welcome, and that’s very appreciated.”
The Swede kicked off her Asian Swing with a run to the Jiangxi Open trophy in Nanchang, her first WTA title, and arrived in Tianjin seeking to continue with that positive momentum. She came out of the gates swinging, sealing an opening-round upset over Venus Williams en route to her second career final.
On the other side of the net was former top Brit Watson, who came into Tianjin with just one WTA-level main draw win in 2019 - a lone first-round victory at Wimbledon. She experienced a complete renaissance during this tournament, knocking out No.2 seeded Wang Qiang and Bronx Open champion Magda Linette on her way to the championship clash with Peterson.
But in Tianjin, inclement weather threatened to delay the final before it could begin. Originally scheduled to be on Center Court at 1:30 pm for their clash, Peterson and Watson waited through a more-than five hour rain delay. When the persistent rain returned during the warmup, the final was moved to an indoor facility.
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“I think the challenge of this week was just to keep going and try to play my game in every match,” Peterson said. “I think I had some really tough matches, like yesterday, the day before, even in my first round.
“All my matches here have been tough, and I had to really push myself to go through. Even though today we played indoor, I know she’s tough when playing on fast surfaces. So I’m happen with my performance today.”
Peterson had to come back from a break down in each set, turning around a 0-2 deficit both times on her way to a 6-4, 6-4 victory in an hour and 37 minutes. The Swede kept the pressure on with her 17 winners, creating 10 break opportunities and capitalizing on four. Watson couldn’t keep her unforced errors in check - 38 to Peterson’s 26 - and as a result only broke twice from four chances.
The victory also means that Peterson, currently ranked No.59 in the world, will jump inside the WTA’s Top 40 - reaching a new career high ranking. Meanwhile, Watson is assured of a return to the Top 100.
“Everyone on my team this week was pushing me every day to be a better player, and I really appreciate them and everything they do for me,” Peterson acknowledged.
“The way that I played, just the last couple of months, it’s improved a lot. This is only the beginning for me. So this is a big thank you to my team as well.”
The Tianjin Open was the last tournament on Peterson’s 2019 schedule, and the Swede will take “a few days off for rest” before starting her preparations for next season.