NANCHANG, China - No.5 seed Rebecca Peterson stormed to her maiden WTA title at the Jiangxi Open with an emphatic 6-2, 6-0 defeat of No.4 seed Elena Rybakina in exactly one hour.
Playing her first career final against an opponent she had never faced before, Peterson's determination to claim the trophy was evident in her irresistible hustle throughout the match. The Swede displayed both dogged defence and dynamic offence, giving away nothing while taking advantage of any opportunity to get on top of the point, and finished with 13 winners to only one unforced error.
By contrast, Rybakina - who was coming off the back of two late-night three-set wins in a row, over Viktorija Golubic in the quarterfinals and Peng Shuai in the semifinals - offered three winners to 11 unforced errors.
The tone was set in the opening game as Peterson chased down an angled Rybakina volley to loft a lob over the Kazakh's head and bring up an immediate break point, taken when Rybakina double faulted for the second time in the game. Thereafter, the World No.78 went from strength to strength. Varying spin and pace adeptly and winning 81% of her first service points, Peterson would not have to face a break point over the course of the match, and closed the opening set out with an off forehand winner.
Though Rybakina's raw power advantage frequently enabled her to control rallies from the outset, the 20-year-old found little consistency with her flat, aggressive hitting. Indeed, as the match went on, the more Rybakina dictated a point, the less likely she seemed to be able to finish it off. The kinds of putaways, drive volleys and smashes that she habitually made en route to the final all began to miss their mark as the World No.69 lost any sort of grip on the match.
Rybakina had won her maiden title in Bucharest in July, taking a one-sided 6-2, 6-0 final over Patricia Maria Tig, but now found herself on the receiving end of the same scoreline. From 3-2 up in the first set, Peterson would reel off nine straight games to take the match and the title, breaking Rybakina four more times; during this stretch, Rybakina would not muster a single game point and only once extended Peterson to deuce.
That game was the fifth of the second set, as Rybakina made a last-ditch attempt to make a greater impact on the match with a couple of bullet-like forehands. Unable to find the consistency to hold that game, though, Peterson would break again and serve out with little drama, sending down a service winner on her first championship point.