Zheng Qinwen thrilled her homeland crowds at the Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open on Sunday with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over No.7 seed Barbora Krejcikova to claim the WTA 500 title.
In their first career meeting, World No.24 Zheng took 2 hours and 26 minutes to notch the comeback victory over 18th-ranked Krejcikova, earning her second Hologic WTA Tour title of the season and her career.
The champion speaks: "When I was on the court finishing the last point, I was feeling super happy," Zheng said after her win. "All the crowd yelling for me, they supported me in full, in that moment, the feeling was unexplainable.
"It’s a lot of pressure, you could see in the match. In the first set, I was leading 2-0, [then] I lost six games in a row. There were a lot of ups and downs, but in the end, the important [thing] is to win the match, whatever happens. Right now, I’m just feeling super happy and want to enjoy the time with my team.
"At the end, I’m really happy to win this match and to beat such a great opponent in the final."
Zheng’s rise continues: Zheng, last season’s WTA Newcomer of the Year, picked up her first title this summer on the clay courts of Palermo. The 21-year-old achieved another milestone later in the summer when she reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2023 US Open.
Now with her latest triumph in Zhengzhou, Zheng becomes the third Chinese woman to win a title at WTA 500-level or higher, joining two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na and Zheng Saisai.
This year marks the first time in Hologic WTA Tour history that three Chinese women have won a singles title in the same season. Along with Zheng’s two titles, Zhu Lin won the Hua Hin title, and Wang Xiyu hoisted the trophy on home soil in Guangzhou.
Match moments: Krejcikova was broken in the first game of all three sets on Sunday. The Czech rebounded successfully in the first set, but Zheng steamrolled through the second set without facing a break point, tying the affair at one set apiece.
In the decisive third set, the pair stayed within touching distance of each other for the remainder of the final. At 3-3, Krejcikova dropped serve again with a double fault down break point, but Zheng lost her serve in the following game to put things back at level footing at 4-4.
However, Zheng earned two more break points in the next game with a thunderous rally forehand winner, and the top-ranked Chinese woman moved ahead by a break for the third time in the set after a netted miscue by Krejcikova.
Serving for the match up 5-4, Zheng would not be denied, slamming two aces and a forehand winner to storm to triple championship point. Another powerful serve by Zheng went unreturned by Krejcikova, sealing the title for Zheng in front of her delighted fans.
Top seeds win doubles crown: Earlier on Sunday, the Zhengzhou doubles title was won by No.1 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe, who defeated No.3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-4 in 71 minutes.
It is the second team title for Dabrowski and Routliffe, who paired up for the first time just this summer. They claimed their first title as a partnership at this year's US Open and have won 12 of their last 15 matches.
The duo began the week in 10th place in the Race to the WTA Finals, but they have moved up the leaderboard with their performance in Zhengzhou, eyeing one of the three remaining spots at the season-ending championships.
Overall, Dabrowski of Canada has won 15 Hologic WTA Tour doubles titles in her career. New Zealand's Routliffe has now won five career doubles titles on tour.