GUANGZHOU, China - For the second straight year, the Gunagzhou International Women's Open has a Chinese champion.
No.3 seed Wang Qiang won her second career WTA title at the International-level event on Saturday, defeating No.5 seed Yulia Putintseva, 6-1, 6-2.
The 26-year-old is the fourth home champion in the history of the event, joining Li Na (2004), Yan Zi (2005) and Zhang Shuai (2013 and 2017).
Both of the her career titles have come on home soil, as she defeated compatriot Zheng Saisai to win the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang in July.
"I felt so happy to win the tournament," Wang said after the match. "I like [playing in] China so much. I think it's a big thing for me, in China with many of my friends here."
Both Wang and Putitnseva came into the final having not dropped a set over the course of the week, but something had to give to see one of them crowned champion.
Over the course of one hour and 11 minutes, it was Wang who managed to show her best tennis throughout, as she broke the Kazakh five times to seal the victory.
Wang struck 25 winners to just 16 unforced errors over the course of the match, which included a sparkling ratio of 11 winners to four errors in a dominant first set.
The World No.41 later saved all three break points she faced in the match over the course of the first two games of the second set, as the first five games went with serve before Wang ran off the last four from 2-2.
"I played four good matches, and today wasn't as good as the previous matches," Putintseva said after the match. "It was different conditions and a different player. I'm just happy that I played a few matches, won some matches here."
Putintseva was denied her first career title in her second appearance in a WTA singles final, as she accumulated 22 unforced errors over the course of the match, including four double faults.
Two of those came in the final game of the match, as she was unable to convert a pair of game points which would've forced Wang to serve for the win, with her last coming on match point.
With the victory, Wang not only leaves Guangzhou with a trophy in hand, but as the new Chinese No.1.
Coupled with Zhang's withdrawal before the tournament began as defending champion, the 26-year-old's result this week will put her at a new career-high ranking and well inside the world's Top 40.
With just 18 games lost over the course of 10 sets in five matches, Wang's victory marked the fewest amount of games lost by any WTA singles champion this season thus far.
In the doubles final, Aussies Monique Adamczak and Jessica Moore won their first WTA title as a team with a 4–6, 7–5, 10-4 victory over Danka Kovinic and Vera Lapko.
"We're very excited about getting the result. It was a tough match," Moore said. "They're quality players and they executed their game really well. Tactically, we came out a little bit better and we maintained it. In the tiebreak, we stepped up, and we got the reward."
For Adamczak, her second career title was 12 months in the making: the 35-year-old was the runner-up in doubles in Guangzhou last year alongside another Aussie in Storm Sanders.
"Playing with Jess was really good today. The crowd was amazing and we felt like they were behind us, so it was so good to play in front of all the fans and to have them cheering for us. It made it extra special to get that win today."
More to come...