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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday August 4, 2019

 
Zheng Saisai

China's Zheng Saisai claimed her maiden title on Sunday with a straight-set win over Aryna Sabalenka in San Jose.

Photo Source: Robert Reiners/Getty

Zheng Saisai snapped a five-match losing streak to open her week at the Mubudala Silicon Valley Championships in San Jose and never looked back from there.

The 25-year-old, who won her first WTA-level match at this event in 2014 back when it was the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, went on to win back-to-back matches on tour for the first time since May before earning her first Top 10 win since 2017 in the final on Sunday when she knocked off her fourth seeded player in a row.

Zheng’s 6-3 7-6(3) triumph over No.2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka capped off a memorable week that ends with the Chinese star hoisting her first WTA trophy and poised to make a return to the Top 40.


Zheng was the better player early and broke critically after trading breaks for 3-2 in the opening set. She didn’t look back in the opener, but faced adversity in the second set when Sabalenka had a break lead and was poised to force a decider.

But Zheng broke back for 3-all and held firm for the rest of the set and in the tiebreaker to clinch her biggest victory in one hour and 45 minutes. She was perfect on break points, converting all five opportunities that she saw.

In the second set tiebreaker Sabalenka closed from 4-2 to 4-3 an nearly recovered the mini-break but Zheng played a sparkling defensive point—one of the best of the tournament—to counter Sabalenka’s drop shot with a clean winner.

Sabalenka missed the next return wildly and double-faulted on championship point, ending the match anti-climactically.

 

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