Make that 24 combined WTA titles for veteran Peng Shuai. Peng claimed her third career singles title on Sunday evening at the Oracle Challenger Series Houston to go along with her 21 doubles titles. Her stunning comeback victory over American Lauren Davis – 16 75 64 – came after a rainy day of waiting to take the court. Eventually play was forced inside, but Peng didn’t allow the sudden change in venue or court speed to break her focus.
The 32-year-old got off to a slow start, losing the first set 16. But the veteran and former World Doubles No. 1 stormed back in a hard-fought second to edge Davis 75. The final and pivotal set was all Peng, as she rolled to a 64 victory and a title at her first tournament since Wimbledon.
A wild card entry into the Houston event, Peng had a tough road to the finals. She took down No. 1-seeded Belinda Bencic in the second round, and then faced 16-year-old American Whitney Osuigwe, who burst her way through qualifying in an impressive week. Peng then defeated No. 4 seed Jessica Pegula in straight sets to reach the final.
Davis – who advanced through qualifying all the way to the final – looked strong in the first set but couldn’t quite hold on against the veteran Peng. With her performance this week, Davis will shoot to the top of the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, putting her in a prime position to earn one of the two main draw wild cards into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.