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AFP
October 14, 2018

Wang downs Svitolina, Muguruza to reach HK final

Sports

AFP
October 14, 2018

HONG KONG: China’a number one Wang Qiang staged an outstanding comeback Saturday to defeat former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-5 and reach her first Hong Kong Open final.

The world number 24 had already seen off Elina Svitolina just hours earlier in a rain-delayed quarter final — Wang’s highest-ranked top-10 scalp this year — despite admitting she had been shaking with nerves ahead of the restarted match.

Wang now faces unheralded Dayana Yastremska in Sunday’s final, after the Ukrainian teenager dumped out China’s number two Zhang Shuai in the earlier semi-final.

In a see-saw contest strewn with jaw-dropping rallies and breaks of serve, Wang, 26, saved three consecutive set points in the first set tie-break before eventually succumbing 5-7.

She then recovered in dramatic style, coming down from 0-40 at 5-4 to clinch the second set.

Down 0-3 in the third set, Wang admitted she was thinking of going home before a pep talk from her coach stiffened her resolve.

She then clawed her way back from a 1-4 deficit, with Muguruza — appearing exhausted and out of ideas by the end of the match — losing her final service game with two unforced errors.

The sixth seed sealed the titanic win with an ace.

Wang had earlier needed just 10 minutes to wrap up her victory against world number five and top tournament seed Svitolina, again sealing the 6-2, 6-4 win with an ace.

The 26-year-old Chinese was serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set when the heavens opened Friday evening.

Wang had grabbed headlines at the French Open with her straight-sets demolition of Venus Williams, offering a hint of what was to come.

She said she knew little about the 102-ranked Yastremska, who powered to a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Zhang to reach her first WTA Tour final.

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