Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova became the first WTA champion of the new decade as she defeated Kazakh rising star Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-4 in 73 minutes to win the Shenzhen Open and claim her maiden title.
The fifth seed, who won a 125K event at Limoges last month, started the match extremely strongly, stringing up to 11 points in a row as she romped to a 4-0 lead with two early breaks in a dominant first set display.
After losing her serve in the first game of the second set, world No.36 Rybakina finally found her footing and moved into the ascendancy with two breaks of her own to go 4-2 up. However, it was evident that the Russian world No.34 had the read on Rybakina’s serve, delivering powerful returns that frustrated the 20-year-old Kazakh and prevented her from finding her rhythm.
Alexandrova took the next three games on the trot to go 5-4 up and closed out the match with a powerful serve that Rybakina shanked wide; the Russian fell to the floor with the delight of winning her first championship match.
With her Shenzhen Open title run, Alexandrova is on a 10-match winning streak and will break the Top 30 for the first time in her career. She can also look forward to her first Grand Slam as a seed at the upcoming Australian Open.