Zheng Beats Myskina for Stockholm Title

Posted on August 14, 2006

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Chinese tennis enjoyed another positive swing in Stockholm Sunday, as Zheng Jie captured the $145,000 Nordea Nordic Light Open with a dominant 64 61 win over Anastasia Myskina in the championship singles final.

Zheng, the No.3 seed, did not drop a set through the first four rounds of the Tier IV event, and continued her solid form against a top-seeded Myskina in the final, keeping her unforced errors to a minimum and controlling the rallies by hitting the ball early and powerfully. Myskina seemed a little flat, and grew increasingly frustrated with an erratic forehand. Zheng gained the critical break in the final game of the opening set and didn't look back, steamrolling in the second set for her best ever match victory.

"This was a very important victory for me," said Zheng, who was presented the Victoria trophy, named after the Crown Princess of Sweden, by tennis legend Bjorn Borg. "It was a great pleasure to receive my award from Bjorn Borg. I didn't know he would be here!"

"I thought I played really well today, but Zheng gets everything back and doesn't miss so there's not much you can do," said Myskina, who has been the runner-up here in both her appearances, last year to Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik and now to Zheng. Myskina could have made a Top 10 return with the title here; she remains at No.11 on Monday.

The final, which began at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium venue, was moved to the indoor Royal Tennis Hall (the site of the men's Stockholm Open tournament) after heavy rains came down with the match having just gotten underway, 1-1 and deuce. Within an hour it was though the entire tournament, including the crowds, had been simply displaced to the back-up facility, just a few blocks away.

By winning in Stockholm, Zheng now has three Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titles to her credit, having also won at Hobart in 2005 and at Estoril earlier this season. She also collected her best match win in terms of ranking over the 11th-ranked Myskina. She has wins over then-No.15 Jelena Dokic (at 2004 Doha), No.17 Jelena Jankovic (at 2005 Beijing), No.18 Anna-Lena Groenefeld (at 2006 Miami) and No.19 Flavia Pennetta (at 2006 Estoril), but her win over the Russian is her fifth and best Top 20 victory.

Zheng also collected her 200th professional singles match win in the semifinals versus Tsvetana Pironkova, and on Monday will make her Top 30 debut, becoming just the second Chinese player in computer rankings history to crack that elite. Li Na made her Top 30 debut during this year's grass court season, and after reaching the quarterfinals here as the No.2 seed (falling to Pironkova), cracks the Top 20 on this week's rankings.

"If they keep playing this way they'll have a Top 10 player very soon," said Myskina, who also noted she had never seen a Chinese player play as well as Zheng did Sunday.

In an intensely competitive doubles final, debutante team Eva Birnerova and Jarmila Gajdosova stunned one of this year's hottest duos, Yan Zi and Zheng, 06 64 62. The unseeded Czech-Slovak pair recovered after a first set blowout to upset the top-seeded Chinese tandem, winners at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and in 24 of their last 25 matches, in three sets. It was the first Tour title of any kind for both players.