Vania King Earns WTA Win in 19 Months Against Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Ranked 769 Spots Higher

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Hidden beneath the expected attention that’ll be given to Stan Wawrinka’s victory and Simona Halep’s loss on Day 1 of the US Open is a true underdog story. World #881 Vania King gained her first WTA level singles win since Sydney 2017, comfortably disposing of world #112 Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-6, 6-3.

King Shrugs Off an Injury Blighted Two Years

The whole of 2017 was pretty much a write-off for King, with just two WTA Tour level wins all season. This left many thinking this is the last we’d see of the American two-time doubles Slam champion. This was due to a stifling right leg injury and the onset of sports-induced arthritis. Many were surprised to see King competing in the French Open 2018 1st round. Although she lost to Mihaela Buzărnescu, it was a moral victory for her to even step foot on court.

Vania King Will Feel That Beating Vikhlyantseva is Equivalent to Winning a Slam

Given all the adversity she has suffered, King will feel like she has won the tournament and not just one match. However, the composure and energy shown in chasing down each ball represents the dawning of a new era for Vania King. One stat–48% second service points won by King to 38% by Vikhlyantseva–shows King wanted it more and never gave up on a point.

A Californian, King looked at home in her home country Slam and seems to be enjoying the game a lot more. This will help her build up her form that saw her reach World #50 all the way backin 2006. 2016 saw a high of #79. There is more to come from King. She has never progressed beyond the 3rd round of the US Open or any Slam in singles. The impetus gained from this victory will give her a shot at beating her best Slam effort.

Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson is up Next for Vania King

Peterson scored a mini-upset herself in the US Open first round. She defeated world #28 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 1-6 6-4 6-3. Peterson’s was the harder match, but there is sufficient recovery time for this not to hinder her against King.

There are 820 ranking places separating King from Peterson, but that won’t put King off at all. There is no head-to-head between these players. King will play with freedom and increasing confidence. You never know–King could be looking at a career best Slam showing.

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