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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

Wang Qiang takes out Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza on same day to reach Hong Kong Open final

Chinese No 1 has been in fine form in recent weeks and will face teenager Yastremska in Sunday's final

Wang Qiang celebrates after beating Garbine Muguruza in the Hong Kong Open semi-finals. AFP
Wang Qiang celebrates after beating Garbine Muguruza in the Hong Kong Open semi-finals. AFP

Chinese No 1 Wang Qiang continued her fine run of form during the WTA's Asian swing by defeating top seed Elina Svitolina and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza on the same day to reach the Hong Kong Open final on Saturday.

After comfortably seeing off Ukraine's Svitolina 6-3, 6-4 in the morning in their rain-delayed quarter-final, Wang was back out on court hours later where she staged a stunning comeback to defeat Spaniard Muguruza 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Wang, the world No 24, will face teenager Dayana Yastremska in Sunday's final, after the Ukrainian beat out China's No 2 Zhang Shuai 7-5, 6-4 in the earlier semi-final.

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In a see-saw contest strewn with exhausting rallies, Wang, 26, saved three consecutive set points in the first set tie-break before eventually succumbing.

She then recovered in dramatic style, coming down from 0-40 down at 5-4 to clinch the second set. Down 0-3 in the third set, Wang admitted she was thinking of going home before a pep talk from her coach stiffened her resolve.

"I had nothing to lose against her - she's a very good player," Wang said of Muguruza. "I just tried to be more patient and if I had a chance then to go for it."

She then clawed her way back from a 1-4 deficit, with Muguruza - appearing exhausted and out of ideas by the end of the match - losing her final service game with two unforced errors. The sixth seed sealed the titanic win with an ace.

A disconsolate Muguruza paid tribute to her opponent.

"I think she played very well especially in the important moments, she came back in the third set playing incredible tennis," the world No 13 and fourth seed said.

Wang had earlier needed just 10 minutes to wrap up her victory against world No 5 Svitolina, again sealing the win with an ace. Wang was serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set when the heavens opened Friday evening.

Svitolina is still in the running for one of the three remaining places at the WTA Finals in Singapore later this month and she now faces an anxious wait to see if a quarter-final finish will be enough to secure qualification.

Wang had grabbed headlines at the French Open with her straight-sets demolition of Venus Williams, offering a hint of what was to come, and later overcame Karolina Pliskova in both Beijing and Wuhan.

Wang will face in the final 18-year-old Yastremska, who earlier this year became the first player born this millennium to break into the top 100.

She appeared overwhelmed after her win over Zhang, lying on her back in Centre Court to soak up the cheers of the crowd.

"I was nervous from the first ball," Yastremska said. "After match point I fell on the floor because I felt so relaxed, that was my instinct to go and lie because I needed to put it away, the emotions.

"I even started to cry a little bit."