HANGZHOU: US Open quarter-finalist Zheng Qinwen called it an "incredible feeling" after winning Asian Games gold today to burnish her fast-growing reputation.
The 20-year-old, China's brightest young tennis star, battled through the Hangzhou heat to outlast teammate Zhu Lin and seal the title 6-2, 6-4 in one hour 44 minutes.
It caps a breakthrough year for Zheng, who beat world No. 7 Ons Jabeur en route to the last eight at Flushing Meadows this month before crashing to top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka.
In May she reached a career-high 19 in the world and two months later won her first WTA title.
Now under the wing of Naomi Osaka's former coach Wim Fissette, who has also worked with Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep, Zheng's power and precision proved decisive against Zhu in a final between the two top seeds.
"The feeling was incredible. I'm really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semi-final). All of them are good fighters," Zheng said after high-fiving fans holding "Queen Wen" signs.
The match was not without controversy, however, with the ball appearing to bounce twice on her side of the net at 4-4, deuce in the second set – a crucial point that Zheng won on her way to a break.
"I really believe I didn't have a double bounce, and anyway I fight for every ball," she said.
Compatriot Zhu was convinced the ball did bounce twice, but was overruled by the umpire.
"I'm disappointed, obviously, because it's a really important point," said Zhu, who had tears in her eyes after defeat.
"But I respect the decision of the umpire. Sometimes it happens on the tennis court. But it was a very important game and then I lost my service game."
World number 23 Zheng broke twice in the opening set and dominated with her serve.
Zhu, ranked 10 places lower, fought hard to stay in the match, rallying from a break down in the second set to level at 3-3 before the drama at 4-4.
Taiwan's Hsu Yu Hsiou and Jason Jung won men's doubles gold, beating India's Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4.
Chinese top seed Zhang Zhizhen, who made the third round at the French Open and US Open this year, will meet second seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan in the men's singles final tomorrow. — AFP