Women's tennis in Nanjing: Xu Shilin triumphs on home soil
Xu Shilin (CHN) delighted the home crowd with victory over Iryna Shymanovich (BLR) in a nerve-jangling women’s tennis file. Shymanovich, meanwhile, also left Nanjing with a gold medal, after triumphing in the women’s doubles with Anhelina Kalinina (UKR).
Fairytale ending for Parazinskaite
Having defeated junior world number two Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the quarter-final before falling to China’s Xu Shilin at the semi-final stage, 17-year-old Parazinskaite overcame world number seven Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5.
“I just tried to attack from the outset and play on the front foot as much as possible,” she explained. “I wanted to return every ball and battle for every point.”
Shymanovich and Kalinina at the double
A day earlier, the women’s doubles had provided another fairytale ending for Parasinskaite (LIT), when she and her partner Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) knocked out top seeds Ivana Jorovic (SRB) and Jil Teichmann (SUI) on their way to the semi-finals.
Their progress was halted by Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) and Iryna Shymanovich (BLR), the No.3 seeds. However, they then went on to beat Sonya Kenin (USA) and Renata Zarazua Ruckstuhl (MEX) 6-3, 7-5 under the floodlights to secure the bronze.
In the final, Shymanovich and Kalinina sealed gold with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and Anastasiya Komardina.
Xu Shilin wins battle of nerves to seal singles gold
In the final of the women’s singles on 24 August, Xu Shilin (CHN) won a battle of nerves with Shymanovich to claim the gold medal.
Xu, the junior world number 13, beat her opponent, who is ranked one place above her, in straight sets (6-3, 6-1) after the final was delayed for an hour due to heavy rain.
“It was extremely difficult because we had to wait a long time to get onto the court,” Shymanovich explained. “I was pretty nervous beforehand because it was my first [singles] final in such an important competition.”
Xu, by contrast, said she had managed to control her nerves. “The one-hour delay didn’t really make any difference,” she said. “We were both a bit nervous because of it being a final but I was able to cope with it well.”
Three double faults by Xu in the third game allowed Shymanovich to take a 2-1 lead before the Chinese youngster fought back to break her opponent's serve, only then to lose her serve again and go 3-2 down.
Xu was the first to hold her serve, taking a slim but decisive 4-3 lead. She then broke her opponent’s serve again to go 5-3 up, before closing out the first set 6-3 thanks to some effective heavy hitting from the baseline.
The key moment in the second set came as Xu broke Shymanovich’s service yet again to take a 4-1 lead with a pair of cross-court forehand winners.
With her opponent seemingly tired having played in the final of the women’s doubles a day earlier, Xu took full advantage and stormed to a 6-1 victory in the second set.
“I noticed that she was struggling to run a little bit,” Xu explained. “I tried to play more aggressively and it paid off.”
“It’s amazing to have won this gold medal in front of all the Chinese supporters, I can’t explain how great it feels.”
Shymanovich, meanwhile, was philosophical in defeat. “I was a bit tired after [the doubles final] yesterday,” she admitted. “But Xu is a great player and she deserved her victory.”