Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu and China’s Duan Ying-Ying won WTA titles over the weekend as the top players geared-up for the Rio Olympics.
Duan won a career-first title at the Jiangxi Open with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 upset over No. 6 seed Vania King in Nanchung, China on Sunday.
“I’m very happy to win my first ever WTA singles title, especially with my low back injury and the hot weather here,” said Duan who was saved mid-match by the WTA on-court coaching rule, where male coaches swoop on court to rescue women players by imparting tactical advice. “Vania played really well in the first set. My coach gave me some advice during the second set. He asked me to improve my speed a bit and I did so. It worked.”
King led a set and a break but could not close it out as Duan saved a handful of break points in the second set.
“Winning this title boosted my confidence a lot,” said the 27-year-old Duan. “I hope to keep up the form and play well at US Open…I might go to see a movie tonight to celebrate!”
King, whose lone WTA singles title came at 2006 Bangkok, fell to 1-2 in career finals.
Begu headed over to Rio for the Olympics on Friday after claiming the Brasil Tennis Cup title in Florianopolis, coming from a set down to beat Timea Babos 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“During the match I didn’t start really well — I was a little bit tense and focusing too much on the negative rather than the positive things I was doing,” said Begu, who also trailed 0-2 in the final set. “Then I realized I had to make the most of the situation, if the forehand wasn’t working I needed to use the backhand more. I think it was more mental because I really wanted to win the title.”
Begu at the Rio Olympics starts against Nao Hibino, while Babos meets Petra Kvitova in the first round.
“It was a difficult final emotionally, especially as I felt I had it in my hands, then only at the end I realize I’ve lost,” Babos said afterwards. “Of course I was playing against a very good player — she was fighting all the way — but I thought that I was playing better and I had many, many, many opportunities, so obviously I’m sad to lose this final.”
Begu improved to 3-3 in career WTA finals while Babos dropped to 1-2.
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