"I got my first WTA champion in Nanchang just a couple of weeks ago, and now I got my second champion, " Sweden's Rebecca Peterson says as it's been a long hard road to victory. It also was a meaningful tournament for her opponent, Britain's Heather Watson who was simply glad to be into a singles final taking her two years to reach this point.
This was a great time for Rebecca Peterson but she can remember when things weren't so good over a few years ago. She turned pro in 2012 participating in the Swedish Open. She then dived into the ITF Women's Circuit earning 11 singles and six doubles titles.
But then in 2016 she started having terrible pain in her arm which gradually escalated into her not being able to even hit a forehand or serve. She would try different therapies, tests and treatments but hardly any were significant in healing her muscles.
She'd see her ranking go from 100 to 200. But it was through intense research and contacting a physical therapist who had helped doubles player Robert Lindstedt and Robin Soderling that she was helped too. It was long before a few tournaments of trying to be successful failed and the Asian Swing presented the consistency to Rebecca Peterson that she needed all along.
She entered the 2019 Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, China and it changed her life and tennis career dramatically. The Swede was defiant to do well at Nanchang and kept her poise as she sailed through three rounds not dropping a set.
She gained momentum and style as she went into the final meeting with Elena Rybakina. It was their first meeting and Peterson showed her dominance and experience by winning her maiden title over Rybakina with a 6-2, 6-0 win.
Moving onward, it was at the Wuhan Open she'd play opposite Italy's Camila Giorgi. She decided to come on strong from the beginning and won the opening set 6-2. Then things went down even further for Giorgi who was struck with severe wrist pain, the same she'd had earlier this year.
She would retire giving the match to the Swede but as Peterson moved on she felt good going into the China Open. She won her qualifying rounds. She moved on to the round of 64 meeting up with Simona Halep. The experience and wins in Peterson's resume didn't help much on the court with Halep.
The Romanian was driven and played a sharp game defeating Peterson 6-1, 6-1. Later, things grew dark for Halep who was suffering with a back injury and had to take a hiatus from tennis. The Tianjin Open was Rebecca Peterson's next Asian run and she took off with greatness.
She'd defeat Venus Williams to start with most rounds going to three tough sets but the final was different. She was met with Heather Watson, who was playing exceptional. The Brit hadn't been in a final in two years and wanted to make her impact here.
It was unfortunate that the day of the final it was raining and play couldn't be in the normal outdoor environment. After waiting for the rains to subside, the last match had to be played indoors. Sometimes the rain delay helps players but for Heather Watson struggling to prove herself on winning a title here, things began to get murky.
Peterson was headstrong in banging and rallying it out with Watson and despite the Brit's powerful stroking, unforced errors abound. The Swede proved to be the most consistent and won the match and second title 6-4, 6-4.
It only took Rebecca Peterson two months to go from no. 71 to now no. 44 in the WTA rankings. She's grateful to be over her arm pain now and to have raised her level of play and accumulated two career titles in two months. The new season for her is looking great and she's feeling rejuvenated and upbeat on having a wonderful new season to come.