Romanian World No.1 Simona Halep enjoyed a winning start to her season as she lifted the Shenzhen Open singles title with a strong 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 victory over defending champion Katerina Siniakova in 74 minutes.
After a four hour rain delay, the match was played at the indoor tennis stadium of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.
The singles top seed did not face a single break point and won 70% of her service points in a powerful first set display but had her serve broken three times in the second as her 21-year-old Czech opponent staged a comeback.
However, 26-year-old Halep showed just why she was the world No.1 in the final set, winning 24 out of 30 points as she served her opponent a bagel to complete the victory in some style. The trophy marks Halep’s sixteenth career title and second here in Shenzhen after her win in 2015.
“It’s been a great week for me as I’ve been playing very well. It was a difficult match and (Siniakova) played very well. She beat Sharapova which is great – I know that feeling. I think we had a great match today. I tried everything to win. I was a little bit less nervous and just tried to enjoy the moment even if we are playing indoors. It’s not easy but we did our job and I’m happy that I could win the first title of the year,” said Halep.
En route to the title, Halep defeated American Nicole Gibbs in the first round, China’ Duan Ying-Ying in the second, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinal and fourth seeded compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in yesterday’s semifinal. The Romanian only dropped two sets the entire tournament.
World No. 47 Siniakova, who defeated Halep in the second round here last year, paid tribute to her opponent’s performance.
“I didn’t play as well as I did last year in the final but Simona really played well today. It’s a good start to the season for me, but of course, a better start for Simona. Last season I won two titles after making the final here so hopefully I can get more titles again this year,” said Siniakova, who was the singles sixth seed.
Both Halep and Siniakova are also in the doubles finals with their respective partners Begu and Barbora Krejcikova. The match commenced just over thirty minutes after the singles final was completed.
The Shenzhen Open is organized by the Chinese Tennis Association, Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism and CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company and is co-organized by the Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Longgang District, Shenzhen Gemdale Sports Industry Co. Ltd. and Kaisa Culture Sports & Tourism Group.
The event is proud to have prestigious commercial sponsors that include the premier sponsors Kaisa Group and Gemdale Group together with Crowne Plaza Shenzhen Longgang City Center, Iqiyi Sports, Erke, Life Fitness, Yonex, Head and Master Kong You Yue Purified Drinking Water.
The official tournament website www.ShenzhenOpenTennis.com has additional information about the tournament.