Unknown teen Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine came out of nowhere this week to win the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open on Sunday, as the 18-year-old recorded a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Wang Qiang of China for her first WTA title.
“Yesterday, I felt very confident that I could win the title, but in the morning, I woke up and I felt a bit too nervous,” Yastremska said. “I trusted myself that I can win, but I didn’t really get deep into those thoughts because I knew that when I go on court, I would forget about everything and just play point by point.”
Ranked No. 102 entering the event, Yastremska had qualified to the main draw the previous week in Beijing, losing first round. Prior to that she lost first round at the small WTA event in Quebec City, lost in the quarterfinals at a minor-league $125K event in Chicago, and lost first round at the US Open.
She has played primarily at the ITF-event level this year, and her best tour-level result had been second-round efforts at Charleston and New Haven.
Yastremska denied the world No. 24 Wang, herself experiencing a breakout season, a third title of the year. She is the sixth teenager to reach a final in 2018, and joins Moscow River Cup champion Olga Danilovic as the second teenage titlist of the season.
She had a 13 winners to only five unforced errors in the first set, and ran away with the second set after establishing a 4-0 lead.
“The last game, I don’t even remember,” said Yastremska. “It was the most tough game during all the tournament, because in your mind, you’re visualizing the way you’re winning, you have this picture in your mind that you want.
“But at the same time, you have to stay right now, right here, playing this point, trying to be without any thoughts which can break your mind and your focus for the match point. That was the most difficult part for me.”
The 26-year-old Wang fell to 2-1 in career finals, all reached this year.
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