China’s Shuai Zhang has won the Guangzhou Open after defeating unseeded Serbian Aleksandra Krunic 6-2 3-6 6-2 in an entertaining final.
Backed by a sparse yet raucous crowd, Zhang hit some impressive winners in a hot and humid final. The victory is Zhang’s second WTA title, after winning the same event back in 2013, while Krunic will be able to take plenty of positives from a first tour final.
Zhang started the match strongly, breaking Krunic’s serve three times to take the first set after just 32 minutes. But Krunic, who is looking more and more impressive as the season draws to a close, fought back in the second set, taking her fifth set point on the Zhang serve.
After an odd twenty minute break between sets two and three, where Krunic took a medical time out after a ten minute heat break, both players traded early breaks, before Zhang took control at 3-2.
Krunic sought advice from her coach during the break at 3-2, but it wasn’t enough as Zhang overpowered her with precise shot making and down-the-line winners. As the crowd became more excited, the atmosphere was not one of a stadium that was less than one third full, as the home favourite took the crown.
The win for Shuai Zhang will see her rise four places in the rankings to number 26 – just three places shy of her career high. She will be participating at the Wuhan Open where she’ll be hoping to take this form and cause an upset in the WTA Premier event.
Krunic, meanwhile, will rise to a new career high of 56, and it looks like this upward trajectory will continue.
In Tokyo, Caroline Wozniacki and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova caused upsets ousting world number 1 Garbine Muguruza and former number one Angelique Kerber respectively. They will meet in Sunday’s final, where Wozniacki will be looking to end a run of six straight-set defeats in finals this year.
Over in Seoul, Jelena Ostapenko defeated qualifier Luksika Kumkhum to make Sunday’s final. The French Open champion will take on Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who will be looking for her first WTA tour title.