WTA Tour

Yastremska blitzes Wang to claim first title in HK

Wang Qiang (AP)
Wang Qiang (AP)

Hong Kong - Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska said Sunday she was dreaming of a Grand Slam after she crushed Chinese number one Wang Qiang 6-2, 6-1 at the Hong Kong Open to claim her first ever title.

The 18-year-old comprehensively outplayed the world number 24 to win the tournament without losing a set all week, walking away with a cheque for $163,265 and more than doubling her career winnings at a stroke.

Wang -- who has been touted by some as a potential successor to Chinese tennis icon Li Na -- was chasing her third title but was never in the match, which was over in little more than an hour.

Despite chants of "Keep going Wang Qiang!" ringing out in Cantonese round the Centre Court, the 26-year-old appeared curiously listless, the day after she had put both world number five Elina Svitolina and former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza to the sword.

Until Sunday, Yastremska's chief claim to fame had been 2016 Wimbledon girls singles finalist, but earlier this year she became the first player born this millennium to break into the WTA top 100 rankings.

She did not appear overwhelmed appearing in her first final, despite saying she had woken up so nervous she could not eat.

"I thought it would be more difficult," she said.

"But if before the match you think it's going to be really difficult you up your focus, and when you go on court you stay more dedicated to each point, that's what helped me to stay that calm during the whole match."

She instantly put her opponent under pressure by forcing two break points in the opening service game, eventually breaking Wang to go 4-2 up, and claimed the set with a blistering backhand return.

Yastremska started the second set in much the same style, immediately breaking Wang with a forehand winner.

But the Ukrainian's nerves were on display in the long final game of the match, serving a total of three double faults.

"It was (the) toughest game," she said.

"In your mind you're visualising the way you're winning, but at the same time you have to stay right here, right now playing this point."

She won her maiden title with a heavy serve, and stood on court for a moment looking dumbfounded.

The world number 102 said she was not "a star yet", adding she had no time to celebrate as she flies out of Hong Kong to prepare for her next tournament in Luxembourg.

"To go to Luxembourg and win -- that's the goal. Every tournament I play, every match I play my goal is to win, to perfect myself, to get experience and to win one day a Grand Slam," she said.

Wang blamed fatigue for her flat performance after a frenetic summer and autumn which seen her claim two titles, a host of big name scalps and a gold medal at the Asian Games.

"I think I was really tired after the last two months," she said.

"It was really tough to play against (Yastremska) -- she played really aggressive, not too many mistakes, good serve, good return."

Wang had grabbed headlines at the French Open with her straight sets demolition of Venus Williams, and overcame Karolina Pliskova in both Beijing and Wuhan.

Her spectacular recent run of form had seen her leapfrog Zhang Shuai to become China's number one women's singles player after winning the Guangzhou Open in September, her second career title after beating compatriot Zheng Saisai at the Jiangxi Open in July.

She said she may still play in Zhuhai and is now eyeing a top 20 ranking in the new year.

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