SEOUL (AP) — Jessica Pegula beat Yuan Yue 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Korea Open on Sunday for the fourth title of her career.
The top-seeded Pegula dropped only one set through the tournament and becomes the first American since Venus Williams in 2007 to win the title in Seoul.
“My mom is Korean and she was adopted from here so it’s really special to be able to win here,” Pegula said. “In the last few years, as my ranking has gone up, I’ve definitely felt so much more support from the fans, a lot more than I expected coming back here from five years ago. So it’s really special.”
Playing in her first career final, 128th-ranked Yuan showed no signs of nerves and earned a break point in Pegula’s opening service game, which the American saved with a forehand winner.
The world No. 4-ranked player then won eight consecutive games to take the first set and build a 3-0 lead in the second as a quick victory looked likely.
Yuan then rallied to get back to 4-3 but Pegula’s power from the baseline propelled her to her first title since Montreal earlier this year and her first outside of North America.
Leylah Fernandez rallied from a set down to defeat Katerina Siniakova 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 and win the Hong Kong Open for her first title in 19 months.
It is the third title of the 21-year-old Canadian’s career and first since winning at Monterrey in March 2022. After the win, she will also move back inside the top 50 in the rankings next week.
“We had a very, very hard past couple of years,” Fernandez said. “My family, my parents, my coach, and my performance coach stayed by my side.”
“They motivated me to keep going and the hard work is paying off. Hopefully, we can keep going this way.”
It was a nervy start by Fernandez and No. 85-ranked Siniakova earned two breaks to claim the opening set.
Fernandez, ranked 60th, responded by building a 4-0 lead in the second before the Czech player took an off-court medical timeout and returned with her left upper leg taped.
The break appeared to help Siniakova as she worked her way back to 3-4 but Fernandez saved six break points in a 10-deuce game to hold and then took the set in her next service game.
After exchanging breaks through the deciding set, Fernandez made the decisive break to lead 5-4 and then held her nerve to serve out the win in 2 hours and 49 minutes.
Chinese No. 1 Zheng Qinwen rallied to beat seventh-seeded Barbora Krejcikova 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to win the Zhengzhou Open and her second career title.
After sharing the first two sets, the 24th-ranked Zheng made the decisive break in the ninth game of the decider and then calmly held serve to claim her second title of the year after also winning at Palermo.
“It’s a lot of pressure, you could see in the match. In the first set, I was leading 2-0, (then) I lost six games in a row,” said Zheng, who also made this year’s U.S. Open quarterfinals in a breakout year. “There were a lot of ups-and-downs, but in the end, the important (thing) is to win the match, whatever happens.”
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis