SAN JOSÉ, CA (August 04, 2019) – Zheng Saisai, the unseeded 25-year-old out of China currently ranked No. 47 in the world, marched through four of the top eight seeds, including No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the final 6-3, 7-6(3) , to win her maiden WTA singles title at the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. She becomes the first Chinese singles champion in San Jose.
“I played every match on Stadium Court,” an excited and smiling Zheng said after her big win. “And from the first match, I heard so many people cheering for me, and I was surprised because I felt like I was far from home, playing in the States. It turns out there are a lot of Chinese fans and even the local people started to support me after my second match. I really appreciated that.”
Zheng’s variety and paceless balls frustrated her Belorussian opponent, who struggled to reign in her emotions during the final. After trading breaks to open to match, Zheng pushed Sabalenka’s serve relentlessly, returning each powerful blast with a looping lob of her own.
In the opening frame, Zheng managed to break Sabalenka three times, including the final game that sealed the first set in her favor, 6-3. Moving to the second, a trade of breaks early on became a dogfight to hold serve, with each player doing so in her last three service games to force the tiebreak.
The deciding tiebreak saw Zheng race out to a 4-1 lead before Sabalenka inched back within a point at 4-3. From there, Zheng reeled off three straight points to claim the biggest title of her career. The win launches Zheng to a career-high ranking of No. 38, which she attributes to shrugging off expectations and putting less pressure on herself on court.
“After Wimbledon,” Zheng explained, “I was in China and my best friend from Hong Kong told me, 'When you are calm, and not so emotional, you can use your brain and play your best tennis. But you haven't felt that the last few months.' I started to feel like I was dealing with too much pressure and expectation. So I was trying just to play, in practice and matches, and not think about results.”
Surely, this result will give a boost to the native of Shaanxi, China, who joined an impressive list of players with a Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic singles and doubles title to their names, having won the doubles championship in 2015. That list includes Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, and Venus and Serena Williams — all of whom are in the Tennis Hall of Fame.
No pressure, though, Saisai. Just an incredible win from an exciting new champion.
Celebrating its 49th year, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is a weeklong WTA Premier event bringing the worlds of tennis and technology together in a festival of sports and entertainment. Highlighting the best the region has to offer, the tournament showcases locally sourced cuisine, fine wine and cheese selections, interactive fan exhibitions, premier hospitality options, and of course, incredible tennis action.
Featuring a 28-player singles draw as well as a 16-team doubles draw the tournament boasts $876,183 in prize money and serves as the opening women's event of the US Open Series.
Save the date! The 2020 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will be held August 3-9.
ABOUT THE MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC: The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first women’s stop of the US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $876,183.
ABOUT MUBADALA: Mubadala Investment Company actively manages a worldwide portfolio supporting the vision of a globally integrated and diversified economy, through sustainable returns to its shareholder, the Government of Abu Dhabi. In March 2018, Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) joined the Group. Mubadala’s US $225 billion portfolio spans five continents with interests in aerospace, ICT, semiconductors, metals and mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, utilities, healthcare, real estate, defense services, pharmaceuticals and medical technology, agribusiness and a global portfolio of financial holdings. Mubadala is a trusted partner, an engaged shareholder and a responsible global company that is committed to ethics and world-class standards. For more information about Mubadala, please visit: www.mubadala.com.
ABOUT THE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 16th season, the world's best players on the WTA and ATP Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of hard court tennis. Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today's top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow's emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.
ABOUT IMG: IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.
ABOUT SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY: The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges. With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.