Unseeded Siniakova wins Shenzhen Open for first-ever WTA crown

The Czech budding star, Katernia Siniakova savored her magic running at the WTA Shenzhen Open here on Saturday, as she overcame the eighth seed Alison Riske of the United States in the final 6-3, 6-4 to claim her first-ever WTA title of career.

"The feelings are so good, I'm just so happy that I won my first title. This match today was really hard for me, I think I didn't show my best, but anyway I played quite well to win the title," said the unseeded Siniakova, the youngest of the tournament who will celebrate her 21st birthday on May 10.

The fifth game of the opening set became the turning point of the final, where Siniakova rallied from a 40-0 down to score six points in a row to keep her own game, broke Riske in the following one, and held her game again for a 4-2 lead before rushing forward in a hurry to collect the set 6-3.

"She was the better player today for sure, so she deserves the title. It was a learning experience for me. I'm very pleased with my week however, even though I lost today, I look forword to my next tournament," said Riske, six years senior of Siniakova.

Riske will climb to her career-high WTA ranking next week. She also enjoyed a sweet revenge for her defeat in last year's final with a commanding victory over top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the semifinal here on Friday.

Siniakova who started tennis at the age of five, continued her strong performance in the second set as she broke Riske twice in the 3rd and 5th games to march close to her first crown with a 4-1 lead. Although Riske geared up herself to win some games later, Siniakova sealed the match in the 10 game without much surprise.

Ranked 52nd in the world, Siniakova has stunned two top-10 players en route to the final, the second-seed Simona Halep of Romania in the second round, and the third-seed Johanna Konta of Britain in the semifinal, but she stays humble after these big wins.

"I think this tournament was great for me, as I beat so many great players and I feel my confidence can grow up a little bit. But anyway, every match is different so I still need to work a lot, continue to work on my game," said Siniakova, who has reached three finals of WTA events in the past six months, including Bastad, Sweden and Tokyo, Japan last year.

For their previous lone encounter, Siniakova also defeated Riske 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinal of the Tokyo tournament last year.

Asked for her goal this season, Siniakova said at the press briefing that she wants to finish among top 20.

"As for my whole career, it's my dream to become world number one, so I would just fight for it," said the 20-year-old Czech.

In doubles final, home favourite Peng Shuai won the championship pairing with Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic, beating Raluca Olaru of Romania and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine by two straight sets 6-1, 7-5.

The week-long Shenzhen Open offers the highest prize money of 750,000 US dollars among the WTA international-tier events.

Top Chinese players confirm Shenzhen Open entry

China's leading tennis ladies have confirmed their participation in the Shenzhen Open, as the official direct entry list is announced for the 500,000 US dollars WTA tournament, which takes place at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center from 29 December 2013, to January 4, 2014.

The official direct entry list consists of 24 of the 32 players - 17 teams will be represented. Besides China, the other teams with multiple entries are the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Slovakia. Read more »