Unseeded Zheng Saisai outperformed the 2018 US Open Series Breakout Performer Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, 6-3 7-6(3).
Zheng confused Sabalenka with her versatility, as the Chinese 25-year-old constantly changed pace and mixed up shots to neutralize the Belarusian’s power game. Zheng sent her groundstrokes deep and dug balls from every corner against the second-seeded Sabalenka, who became increasingly frustrated by not being able to cope with her opponent’s tactic.
While Zheng stayed steady and patient, Sabalenka couldn’t keep her nerves under control. After the match, the runner-up commented:
I couldn’t do anything today with myself. I couldn’t control my emotions. I was screaming some (stuff), I was throwing the rackets. Her game destroyed me because I couldn’t use my power. I wasn’t ready for that.
Overall, Zheng hit one more winner than unforced error, while Sabalenka’s winners-to-unforced-errors differential was -13 differential. Moreover, it sure made a difference that Zheng was successful in crucial moments, converting all five break point that came her way.
With her deep topspin shots and superb defense, Zheng topped four seeded players en route to her maiden WTA title at San Jose, and it’s a Premier-level one which increases her career prize money by $151,070.
Zheng’s victory has propelled her from No.55 to No.38, equaling her career-best WTA ranking.
On a tennis fashion note, the finalists were wearing matching Nike outfits: the Fall Court Tank in celestial gold, the Fall Victory Skirt in gridiron (dark grey) and the bold, animal print Nike Air Zoom Vapor X shoes.
Congratulations to Zheng as she frustrated not only Sabalenka, but also Sakkari, Anisimova, and Danielle Collins in route to the finals. BTW seems like a lot of the ladies had the same kit at this tournament with the Nike gold top and blue skirt.
Jim, yes, most Nike players wore those separates.