China’s best to play Ukrainian teen for Hong Kong WTA title
HONG KONG (AP) — Wang Qiang, the best Chinese women’s player in tennis with a ranking of No. 24, will play Ukrainian teen Dayana Yastremska for a third career title at the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.
Wang posted two upset victories on Saturday by first finishing her rain-postponed quarterfinal against top-seeded Elina Svitolina and winning 6-2, 6-4. The victory over the fifth-ranked Svitolina marked Wang’s first career win over a top-five player.
Then, Wang upset fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5 to earn passage into the final.
Wang has been posting impressive results since mid-July. She won her first two WTA career titles at Nanchang and Guangzhou, and also was a semifinalist at Hiroshima, Wuhan, and Beijing.
Wang trailed Muguruza 4-1 in the final set, but showed determination to rally to win the nearly three-hour encounter.
Yastremska reached her first career final after defeating 40th-ranked Zhang Shuai of China 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
The 18-year-old Yastremska is the sixth teenager this year and fourth born in this century to reach a WTA final.
Yastremska was 1-6 in WTA main-draw matches this year before Hong Kong, but has won four consecutive straight-set matches to advance to the final.
The 102nd-ranked Ukrainian’s best previous result at a WTA-level tournament was the Istanbul quarterfinals last year.
Yastremska rebounded from a break down in both sets to come through against Zhang.
Svitolina entered this week as one of five players still in contention to earn a place in the eight-player year-end WTA Finals in Singapore.
She could still qualify for the WTA Finals, but would have to request and be granted a wild card to play a tournament this coming week to secure a place in Singapore.