China's Ying-Ying Duan was celebrating in Wellington after winning her first singles title at US$25,000 Challenger level as she emphatically took away the final of the Configure Express Pro Women's tournament at Wellington's Renouf Tennis Centre indoors.
Duan, seeded eighth and ranked at 353 defeated fifth seeded Polish player Sandra Zaniewska of Poland who is ranked at 294 showing no mercy as she overwhelmed her opponent 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour.
For Duan it was her first title and through a translator said she was happy with the win. "I was very relaxed today and not nervous at all. I had a good tournament," she said "it is a good boost for my confidence and ranking," said the 22-year-old Duan who stands well 1.83m (6 foot) and is keen to follow in the footsteps of the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam, Li Na and also Peng Shaui and Jie Zheng, all top 50 players. Duan also says she is keen to make the top 50 within the next three years.
Her opponent, Zaniewska struggled under the accurate barrage of Duan's shots which were hitting the lines of the court with regularity and she had difficulty returning with any significant length on her own shots.
"I'm happy that I had a good week. I'm trying to think of the good things about the loss. I wish I could have played better in the first set. I think I had a better response in the second set," she said. Her reply to playing the semis and finals indoors was typically eastern European pragmatism. "I didn't come from Poland (winter) to play indoors (summer), but you can't help the weather."
Zaniewska will now spend two weeks training in Australia before two more events and eventually make it home after nearly three months on the road playing tournaments, while Duan travels to China for a tournament of similar size to Wellington.
With no Kiwi-born players making it past the singles second round and despite the weather there was still a reasonable crowd for the final which gave the sport exposure in Wellington as well as developed officials and ball kids and gave young players such as Claudia Williams, Mia Middleton and Saravinder Pannu an introduction to professional tennis.
Configure Express Pro Singles final result:
(8)Ying-Ying Duan(China) bt (5)Sandra Zaniewska(Poland) 6-1 6-4