Former World No.1 Maria Sharapova tasted singles championship triumph for the first time in over two years, defeating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in a hard-hitting affair, 7-5, 7-6(8), to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.
Sharapova rebounded from deep deficits in both sets to outlast the first-time WTA finalist in over two hours, and claimed her first championship since the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in 2015, and the 36th WTA singles title of her career. The five-time Grand Slam champion won the title without dropping a set.
"It is a special title and a special victory. It has been a couple of years since I have held the winner's trophy," Sharapova said.
"It is a great feeling, and this was a team effort. We all work together with my coach and everyone that has been involved in the last few years, so I just really appreciate the opportunity of playing in this event, getting the wildcard and coming out as champion. There are a lot of good things to take away from the week."
Thanks to the organizer, tianjinexpats.com was able to offer to our members tickets to go to see the performance, here is our members feedback
Mr Christopher Smith
The Trip to the TianJin Tennis Center was uneventful, a simple bus, Metro and Didi ChuXing combination to meet up with the viewing companion for the day.
Two complimentary tickets were waiting at the welcoming service desk, and with in minutes we were among the first entrants to the Tennis Center and able to find seats centre court.
An initial crowd settled in for an hour of Championship Doubles Tennis that stretched to just two sets, but but gave opportunity to explain the scoring system of Love, 15, 30 , 40 ,Deuce, Advantage, Match Point and Championship Point as well as the calls of Fault, Double Fault, Net, Let, Ace, and Out. The Camera replay was used enough times to view the Line Ball to award the point afforded opportunity during the delay to have a discussion of Racket Forehand, Backhand, Double hand, Service positions, Game points, Set points and the other relevant Tennis etiquettes.
My companions first time at a days Tennis outing was to be rewarded with a spectacular display of Sharpova's sportsmanship, Acing 8 services and although finding a fascination with the net, being able to recover from an onslaught by a determined younger opponent in Aryna Sabalenka. At just 19 years of age, taking on Sharapov's 11 years of superior experience, was a testimony to her abilities and soon to be dominant force on the Women's Tennis Circuit.
The "home" support chants of "Lets go Ma-Ri-Ah", were retorted by a contingent of BelaRussians, "Ah-Reen-Ah", obliviously recently flown in to support Sabalenka, as she had determinedly played her way to challenge Sharapova, both by upsetting several Chinese hopefuls. This was an all-Russian final in an all Chinese venue, with an all Chinese support crew.
A dramatic and theatrical 9 Match points were were played out to the breathtaking gasps of Aces, extended volleys, emotive faults, scraping tennis racket, squeaking shoes, the obligatory feminine exhalations of force, and line calls. 7-5 from a 4-1 to Sablenka, 7-6, 10-8.
Tianjin Tennis could not have asked for a more fitting and spectacular final to promote and encourage world wide participation in a rapidly rising major event on the Tennis Circuit.
I was so happy to be able to come to this game, both players were outstanding, even if she didn’t win Aryna Sabalenka fought very hard till the end. And I was able to meet my star Sharapova and get a signature from her. That was such a great day
Thank to tianjinexpats.com for this opportunity, it was truly amazing experience to see Maria playing