She's not too ambitious for a juvenile. Dayana Yastremska totally dominated a fatigued Qiang Wang to clinch her maiden WTA final 6-2 6-1 at the Hong Kong Tennis Open in 65 minutes. The Chinese No.1 will hit a new career-high ranking for the sixth consecutive week at No.23.
Yastremska, who first broke the Top 100 in July after a streak of solid results on the ITF circuit, will climb well inside the Top 70 for the first time in her career. In a rare sign of emotion, she double-faulted on her second match point at 5-1, but she became the second teenage WTA titlist of 2018 following Olga Danilovic at the Moscow River Cup, and the third Ukrainian champion this season after Elina Svitolina's titles in Brisbane and Dubai, and Lesia Tsurenko's victory in Acapulco.
Yastremska drew first blood, breaking Wang to move 4-2 up. A couple of clean, flaming returns on Wang's second serves helped the Ukrainian to extend her lead. Focused and totally aggressive, Yastremska knows a single gear, the highest.
She needed 26 minutes to show another quick return and followed it with a lucky forehand volley that bounced on the net to create the first opportunity to seal the set. It was enough to complete the opening set delivering 13 massive winners to just 5 unforced errors.
The Ukrainian, who won eight consecutive games from 1-2 down in the opening set, hit flatter, faster, deeper to rolled over Wang who twice had to ask her coach Peter McNamara to come on-court and help her find a way out.
Yastremska's huge streak of winners eroded Wang's self-confidence, the main factor that led the Chinese No.1 to give a turnaround to the season after Roland Garros and reach five consecutive tour-level semifinals.
"I had nothing to lose against Muguruza. I just tried to be patient and if I have the chance, just go for it" Wang said after her comeback victory in the semifinals. "Yastremska's young and she plays really aggressive.
In the final, I'm just going to try and do what I've been doing [against Muguruza]." Yastremska never gave her the chance to apply her gameplan. Having played in 11 of the last 12 weeks, a fatigued performance from Wang was just a question of when.
It was just a matter of trust for Yastremska, whose attack-minded approach became the key to force Wang to miss a couple of break points in the first game of the second set. For the first time, however, the teenager started to over-hit in her desire not to lose her grip on the rally, not to move far behind the baseline.
Positive thinking and an incredible self-awareness brought Yastrenska to save three break points and hold to 1-0. Extremely quick, the Ukrainian can hit on the rise and drill seemingly effortless down the line winners from both sides.
Coached by a proud Olivier Jeunehomme, director at Justine Henin academy, Dayana Yastremska, who reached her maiden final in just her 11th WTA main draw attempt and made simultaneously her semifinals and finals debut at WTA level, left the Chinese breathless.
The teenager consistently came inside the baseline, brilliantly changed direction off the backhand side and quickly completed her 40th overall win of the season to 18 defeats. The 2016 Australian Open junior doubles and Wimbledon junior runner-up (losing to Anastasia Potapova after an epic final game), sealed the sixth win in seven meetings against Top 50 opponents.
Yastremska won her first professional title in 2016, as our Jovica Ilic reported.
That year she made her WTA main draw debut as a wild-card at Istanbul. One year later in the same venue, she won her first main draw match before reaching the first tour-level quarterfinal defeating former World No.9 Petkovic en route.
She rose more than 200 places in 2017 as she posted her first Top 200 season at No.189. This year she won her way through qualifying in Acapulco, Charleston, and Beijing and collected consistent results on ITF circuit. Clay season highlight was R-Up finish at $100k Cagnes-sur-Mer (as a qualifier, l.
Peterson), on grass she fell at the first-round at Surbiton and Manchester but reached the second final of the year at $100k Ilkley (l. Smitkova). Prior to the arrival in the USA, she won her third ITF singles title at $60k Rome (d.
Potapova in F) and reached the semifinals at $100k Budapest (l. Alexandrova). Her rapid rise prepared her to offer a self-assured performance in her maiden tour-level final, to reset after missing three match points in a hard-fought final game, to save multiple break points and stamp a massive forehand winner to create the fourth, decisive chance to serve out the match.
She played the perfect final. The best is yet to come.