Canada's Leylah Fernandez came from a set down to defeat Katerina Siniakova 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to win the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open. The victory is the 21-year-old's first Hologic WTA Tour title of the 2023 season and third of her career.
A US Open finalist two years ago, Fernandez entered the tournament ranked No.60 and she will leave Hong Kong with a return to the Top 50. With wins over Victoria Azarenka, Mirra Andreeva, Linda Fruhvirtova, Anna Blinkova and Siniakova, Fernandez captured her first title since winning 2022 Monterrey.
"We had a very, very hard past couple of years," Fernandez said. "My family, my parents, my coach, and my performance coach stayed by my side," Fernandez said. "They motivated me to keep going and the hard work is paying off. Hopefully, we can keep going this way."
How the match was won: Siniakova jumped on Fernandez's error-strewn start to earn two breaks in the opening set to take the early advantage. The Czech was bidding for her second title of the season, having won in Bad Homburg, and first win over Fernandez.
Fernandez responded to the loss of the opening set by building a 4-0 lead in the second. Siniakova took an off-court medical timeout and returned with her left upper leg taped. When play resumed, Siniakova slowly began to chip away at Fernandez's lead.
Turning point: With Fernandez serving with a break advantage at 4-3, the Canadian came through the longest and most dramatic game of the match to hold. Fernandez saved six break points in a see-saw battle, that saw the Czech save four game points to extend the 10-deuce game. Having survived the duel, Fernandez served out the set two games later.
"I knew it was a crucial game," Fernandez said. "Katerina was playing an incredible match, hitting winners from the backhand, forehand, left, right, and center. It was a tough game for me, especially emotionally, to control myself. At one point I just had to focus on the ball."
At deuce in the first game of the final set, Siniakova was wrong-footed at the net by a Fernandez passing shot and crumbled to the ground in pain. The trainer came on court immediately and after a few minutes, Siniakova was able to walk to her chair on her own accord.
Play resumed after a medical timeout to tape Siniakova's left leg. Siniakova saved break point to extend the game, but Fernandez stayed steady to break on her fourth break point of the game.
But with Fernandez struggling to find consistency in her first serve, Siniakova broke back to 3-3 with a clean return winner to put the result back in the balance. After another exchange of breaks, Siniakova stepped up to serve at 4-4 but Fernandez saved game point and sealed the final break of the match.
This time, Fernandez closed the door, holding serve to seal the win after 2 hours and 49 minutes.
In doubles, the unseeded duo of Tang Qianhui and Tsao Chia Yi stunned No.3 seeds Oksana Kalashnikova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the final, winning 7-5, 1-6 [11-9]. The title is Tang's third of her career and first for Tsao.