Wang Xiyu claims first title in WTA's return to China

China's Wang Xiyu captured her first WTA Tour title Saturday as the world No. 88 powered past Magda Linette 6-0, 6-2 in the final of the Guangzhou Open, the first elite women's tournament in the country since 2019.

The 22-year-old Wang's victory marked the fourth time that a Chinese player has been crowned champion in Guangzhou, following Wang Qiang (2018), Zhang Shuai (2013, 2017) and Li Na (2004).

"It was very exciting, and it's a very emotional moment because in this tournament, every player is really tough," Wang said. "It's so difficult to be here on the last day. I'm happy to be here.

"I wanted a title from the first day, even when I started tennis. It was really a dream for me. I think there's going to be bigger tournaments, tougher matches waiting for me, and I'm just trying my best like I did this week."

Wang is the third Chinese champion this season after Zhu Lin (Hua Hin) and Zheng Qinwen (Palermo) -- the first time since 2006 that the country had enjoyed similar success in singles.

China last hosted a WTA tournament in 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on the global sports schedule.

The WTA later suspended its tournaments there after former doubles world No. 1 Peng Shuai said in a now-deleted 2021 social media post that a former Chinese government official sexually assaulted her.

Peng briefly disappeared from public view and later denied making the accusation, sparking an international outcry over her safety.

The WTA was widely praised for suspending tournaments in China but reversed its decision in April.

In a dominant first set, Wang never faced a break point against the Australian Open semifinalist. She broke Linette early in the second set and took 2-0 lead before Linette took a medical timeout and then evened the set 2-2.

But Wang didn't allow her Polish opponent to stage a comeback and sealed the final in 80 minutes.

At the Zhuhai Championships, Aslan Karatsev reached the quarterfinals by beating former world No. 1 Andy Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The 63rd-ranked ranked Karatsev, looking for his first tour title since Sydney in 2022, will face second-seeded Cameron Norrie for a spot in the semifinals. Norrie beat Australian qualifier Marc Polmans 6-0, 6-3.

In other matches, Sebastian Korda defeated Alexandre Muller 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 and will play Tomas Martin Etcheverry after the Argentine beat Czech player Dalibor Svrcina 6-2, 6-3.

At the Chengdu Open, top-seeded Alexander Zverev, Lorenzo Musetti and Grigor Dimitrov all won their second-round matches Saturday after receiving a bye in the first round.

Zverev rallied to beat Russian qualifier Pavel Kotov 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1 and will face Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinals. Kecmanovic beat Corentin Moutet 6-2, 6-4.

The second-seeded Musetti was challenged before beating Australian qualifier Philip Sekulic 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-0 and advanced to the last eight. Musetti next faces Arthur Rinderknech, who beat Marcos Giron 7-6 (2), 6-4.

The third-seeded Dimitrov defeated Juan Pablo Varillas 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal match against Australian Christopher O'Connell.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.