Xu wins battles of nerves to claim gold in women's singles tennis
Xu Shilin (CHN) won a battle of nerves with Iryna Shymanovich (BLR) to claim the women's singles gold medal at the Nanjing Sport Institute Tennis Academy.
Local hero: China’s Xu Shilin handled the pressure to win gold
Xu, the junior world number 13, beat her opponent, who is ranked 12th in the world, in straight sets (6-3, 6-1), after the final was delayed for an hour due to heavy rain.
“It was really tough because it took so long to get on the court,” said Shymanovich said. “I was pretty nervous before, it was my first [singles] final in such a big and important tournament.”
Xu, by contrast, said she had managed to control her anxiety. “The one-hour delay didn’t really make any difference,” she said. “I think both of us were a bit nervous because of the final, but I could cope with that quite well.”
Three double faults in the third game by Xu let Shymanovich 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 her effective heavy hitting from the baseline.
The key moment of the second set came when Xu broke Shymanovich’s service again to go 4-1 up with a splendid double forehand crosscourt winner.
The Belarusian, who had also featured in the women’s doubles final a day earlier, appeared to be tiring and Xu took full advantage, storming through to take the set 6-1.
“I saw she had some troubles in running,” said the Chinese. “I tried to play more aggressively and it paid off.
“It feels amazing right now, winning this gold in front of all these Chinese fans. It's a feeling I can't explain.”
“I was a bit tired from yesterday,” Shymanovich admitted. “But Xu is also a great tennis player and she deserves this win.”
Meanwhile, the men’s doubles gold went to Brazilian duo Orlando Moraes Luz and Marcelo Zormann Silva, who beat Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 2-1 (7-5, 3-6, 10-3).
In the mixed doubles bronze medal match, Poland’s Kamil Adrian Majchrzak – the men’s singles champion – and Hungary’s Ivett Fanni Stollar beat Romania’s Ioana Ducu and Argentina’s Nicolas Matias Zukas 2-1 (6-3, 3-6, 10-5).