SHENZHEN, January 11, 2020 (Press Release)
Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova become the first WTA Tour champion of the new decade as she defeated Kazakh rising star Elena Rybakina 6-2, 6-4 in 73 minutes to win the Shenzhen Open and claim her maiden title on the Centre Court of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.
The No. 5 seed, who won a 125K event at Limoges last month, started the match extremely strongly, stringing up to 11 points in a row as she romped to a 4-0 lead with two early breaks in a dominant first set display.
After losing her serve in the first game of the second set, world No. 36 Rybakina finally found her footing and moved into the ascendancy with two breaks of her own to go 4-2 up. However, it was evident that the Russian world No.34 had the read on Rybakina’s serve, delivering powerful returns that frustrated the 20-year-old Kazakh and prevented her from finding her rhythm.
Alexandrova took the next three games on the trot to go 5-4 up and closed out the match with a powerful serve that Rybakina shanked wide; the Russian fell to the floor with the delight of winning her first championship match.
The 25-year-old becomes the second player to win their first WTA Tour title in Shenzhen, following in the heels of Katerina Siniakova who picked up her maiden trophy in 2017 with a finals victory against Alison Riske.
Ekaterina Alexandrova does it!
A first WTA title for her at #ShenzhenOpen as she beats Rybakina 6-2, 6-4!
— WTA (@WTA) January 11, 2020
“I didn’t expect the first set to be so easy so I knew the second set would be so much tougher. In the second set I think she played well but after I got the break to make it 4-4, she got a bit nervous. The whole week has been good for me I think, right from the start. It wasn’t easy but thankfully, I could make it to the end. It feels amazing to win my first title. I don’t know what to say. The first title is always special. It was my second final – the first wasn’t so good for me – and I was trying to do my best to get this one,” said the Russian.
With her Shenzhen Open title run, Alexandrova is on a 10-match winning streak and will break the Top 30 for the first time in her career. She can also look forward to her first Grand Slam as a seed at the upcoming Australian Open.
Rybakina can also anticipate a rankings jump that will improve her career best ranking and took heart from her strong start to the season.
“It was a great week for me. Of course, I am disappointed with the final a little bit, but still I think it’s a good start to the season. Hopefully I can use this result to help me do better and better. I really like Shenzhen – I am playing here the first time and hopefully I will come back next year,” said Rybakina.
In a riveting finale to the doubles, second seeded Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but rallied to overcome third seeded Chinese pair Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai 6-2, 3-6, 10-4 in one hour and 22 minutes.
The two-time Grand Slam champs (Wimbledon and Roland Garros in 2018) started strong in the opener, saving all four break points they faced and converting twice to take a relatively straight forward first set.
In front of an encouraging home crowd, Roland Garros finalists Zheng and Duan finally got the break they needed in the eighth game of the second set to take the match into a decider.
After the first five points of the super tiebreaker went in favour of the server, the Chinese pair lost two mini-breaks in the sixth and seventh point to go 2-5 down and became clearly deflated against their higher ranked opponents.
The Czech duo, who were the doubles runners-up here in 2018, are picking up their fifth title as a pair in three years.
— Shenzhen Open (@ShenzhenOpenWTA) January 11, 2020
“We had to play a really good match and we did, so that was the key. The first set we played really well, but the second set was a little bit tougher and closer. We knew it was going to be tough. We watched them playing the semis yesterday so we know that they can come back. And yesterday in the tie-break they won like 10-4. When we split the sets, we knew that we had to start the tie-break better and luckily we did that. In the end we won the finals and I think it’s a really good start for the season,” said world No.14 Krejcikova, who is picking up her sixth career doubles title.
The Shenzhen Open doubles trophy marks the eighth overall doubles title for world No.7 Siniakova, who is now the second player (after Simona Halep) to have won both a singles and doubles title here in Shenzhen.
“It was a great match, we tried to play aggressive. I need to work a little on my game but I think Barbora helped me a lot. So yeah, we’re happy that we won in the end. We played the doubles finals here two years ago as well so I like to come back here and I like to play here. I was a little bit disappointed to lose the first singles match but I’m happy we can produce great doubles matches. It’s nice to be back,” said Siniakova.