Dasha Lopatetska capped off a successful Hong Kong fortnight with another ITF World Tennis Tour title after she beat fellow qualifier Ma Shuyue, 6-4, 6-3, in Sunday’s China Tonghai W25 final. The doubles title went to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Pei Hsuan and Wu Fang-Hsien, who saw off Japan’s Robu Kajitani and Hiroko Kuwata, 6-3, 6-3, in the final.
Mr. Stacey Wong, Chief Operating & Risk Officer of China Tonghai International Financial Limited, presided over the prize presentation ceremony.
“It’s been an amazing two weeks here in Hong Kong. I’m really happy with the way I competed and hopefully I can come back and play here again soon. Now, I’m heading to the practice courts getting ready for the next challenge on tour!” said an elated Lopatetska.
Last week’s Kidsland W25 saw Lopatetska win her third career pro circuit title with a 6-4, 6-2, victory against former world No. 154 Barbora Stefkova of the Czech Republic.
This week’s event in Hong Kong was only Lopatetska’s seventh career appearance on the pro circuit. The 15-year-old from Ukraine won back-to-back 15K titles in Hungary and Turkey in her pro circuit debut last June. Her two titles during the fortnight in Hong Kong meant she has won four of the seven pro circuit tournaments she has entered in her career.
While Lopatetska, who is ranked No. 489 in the world, won last week’s Kidsland W25 without playing a seeded player or dropping a set along the way, her road to the China Tonghai W25 title was far more treacherous.
In the opening round, she faced 17-year-old world junior No. 7 Wang Xinyu, who took a set off Maria Sharipova at the Shenzhen Open the previous week before retiring with severe leg cramps. Lopatetska was unable to muster a single break point opportunity and lost the first set before producing a strong finish to prevail, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, against Wang, who is ranked at a career-high WTA No. 291.
In the next round, Lopatetska drew Japanese top-seeded 20-year-old Momoko Kobori and quickly fell behind by a double break to trail 3-0. However, the teenager found her game before the deficit became untenable and broke her opponent’s serve three straight times to steal the first set 6-3.
In the second, the players exchanged a pair of early breaks to bring proceedings to 3-3 when Lopatetska again dialed her game up a notch to conjure successive breaks to take the set and the match, 6-3, 6-3.
Kobori can be problematic in many ways, as she is the crafty counter-attacking type who can feed off the incoming pace, while generating her own angles to frustrate her opponent.
Against No. 6 seed Mai Minokoshi in the quarterfinals, Lopatetska’s serve went walkabout in the middle of the opening set, which resulted in successive breaks from each player. However, after breaking the Ukraine for the third time in the eighth game, Minokoshi was able to hold serve to grab the set 6-3.
In the ensuing set, Lopatetska was still not firing on all cylinders with her serve and was forced to save a pair of break points before holding for 2-1. Yet, she began to find the lines with her penetrating groundstrokes and broke the sixth seed twice in succession to take the set 6-1.
In the third set, the teenager rode with the momentum, saved all five break points she faced, and broke Minokoshi three times to progress with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
In the semifinals, Lopatetska went up against No. 4 seed Cagla Buyukakcay who reached a career-high No. 60 in 2016 after becoming the first Turkish player to lift a WTA title at the Istanbul Open that year. However, the teenager from Ukraine put together a devastating run, winning the last six games of the first set and then jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second to stamp her authority on the match to come through in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
In the final, Lopatetska faced fellow qualifier Ma Shuyue of China, who is at a career-high WTA No. 357. Unlike earlier rounds, she was unable to separate herself from Ma with any significant run of games to impose her will on her opponent. However, after failing to consolidate her break in the ninth game of the opening set, Lopatetska managed to produce the clincher in the next game to wrap up the first 6-4.
In the second, Lopatetska struck early to lead 2-0 only to see ma respond swiftly to draw even at 2-2. After serving an ace to hold for 3-2, she broke Ma again for 4-2 but yielded her serve back tamely at 15, as her opponent clawed back to 4-3. In the following game, ma wasted a game point for 4-4 and lost her serve instead to fall behind 5-3.
In the following game, Lopatetska endured several iffy moments and had to save a pair of break points before holding serve for a 6-4, 6-3, victory.
Following her two-week foray in Hong Kong, Lopatetska has jumped from No. 489 to a new career-best No. 365 on the WTA Rankings.
Lopatetska first came to prominence when she won the Junior Orange Bowl G12 singles title in 2015. Last September, she entered the US Open girls’ singles as a qualifier but ended up beating American No. 1 seed Cori Gauff en route to the semifinals.
Scouting Report: Young gun Daria Lopatetska off and running in 2019 (WTA, 9 Jan 2019)
In the women’s doubles, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Pei Hsuan and Wu Fang-Hsien avenged their finals defeat to Michaella Krajicek and Barbora Stefkova in the previous week by beating the top seed in the semis, 6-3, 6-4. Against Japan’s Robu Kajitani and Hiroko Kuwata, Chen and Wu fell behind early in the first set before the duo broke back twice to take it 6-3.
The second set saw six service breaks between the pair, with the girls from Taiwan finishing stronger than their opponents in the end to win, 6-3, 6-3, to register their ninth pro circuit women’s doubles title together.
China Tonghai W25
Victoria Park, Hong Kong
January 7-13, 2019
Daria Lopatetska (UKR) d. Ma Shuyue (CHN) 6-4 6-3
Chen Pei Hsuan/Wu Fang-Hsien (TPE) d. Robu Kajitani/Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) 6-3 6-3