WTA Finals: Stosur and Zhang grabs comeback win, boosting qualifying chances
Stosur and Zhang will look to qualify with a win over Krejcikova and Siniakova | Photo: Clive Brunskill

Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-fan were in desperate need for a maiden win at the WTA Finals Shenzhen as they went winless in their previous two appearances, winning a total of just four games in the process. They lost their opening match on Sunday as well, falling to two-time Major champions Krejcikova and Siniakova in straight sets, although this time they managed to clinch six games in the defeat.

They went up against Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai, which was a treat for the local fans with two home players competing against each other. Stosur and Zhang were also on the losing end on Sunday, being beaten by the Wimbledon champions Hsieh and Strycova in three tight sets.

Both teams in a picture before the match | Photo: Matthew Stockman
Both teams in a picture before the match | Photo: Matthew Stockman

Ultimately, it was Stosur and Zhang who managed to get their Shenzhen campaign off and running, coming up with a fantastic comeback victory to clinch the win over the fourth seeds, prevailing with a 4-6, 6-4, [10-5] scoreline. This boosted their chances to qualify for the semifinals, while for Dabrowski and Xu, they would require other results to go their way, in addition to defeating the second seeds Hsieh and Strycova on Thursday.

Stosur and Zhang fights back to claim the huge win

It was a fantastic start for the Australian Open champions as they surged out to a commanding 3-0 lead within a blink of an eye, dominating the baseline game. However, Dabrowski and Xu rose up to the occasion and adapted to the conditions, handling the net much better and starting to input more variety into their game. Their change in tactics certainly worked as they rattled off five consecutive games to completely turn the tables.

Stosur and Zhang in action | Photo: Clive Brunskill
Stosur and Zhang in action | Photo: Clive Brunskill

Zhang and Stosur had the golden opportunity to level the scores but failed to capitalize on three break points as Xu smashed down a winner to close the comeback doors, taking the opening frame 6-4.

The turning point of the match probably came in the third game of the second set, with Stosur sending in a series of solid serves to retrieve a 0-40 deficit on serve and thus remaining in contention. There were four straight games which went the distance but on all the occasions, the servers were able to hold onto their nerves and eventually, Dabrowski and Xu found themselves serving to stay in the set at 4-5 down.

Dabrowski and Xu celebrating after winning a point | Photo: Clive Brunskill
Dabrowski and Xu celebrating after winning a point | Photo: Clive Brunskill

After having the momentum throughout the entire match, the fourth seeds faltered during the crucial moments as Stosur and Zhang stepped up their returning abilities, with the Australian closing the set out with a routine volley winner.

The first seven points of the match tiebreak saw only one of them being won by the servers, which was a smart smash winner down the centre of the court by Zhang. The seventh seeds claimed four consecutive points from 3-2 up, opening up a huge 7-2 lead and never looking back from there as Stosur slammed down a backhand return winner to earn their first win in Shenzhen.

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