Zha Wenting Captures Women’s Singles Title at Butterfly LA Open
by Barbara Wei
Offering $2,000 in prize money for first place, the women’s singles event at the 2016 Butterfly LA Open attracted some of the best female players and player-coaches in the west coast. Top seed in the event, Tang Liying, defending 2014 and 2015 LA Open singles champion, headed the seeding list and looked to win the championship title again. However, in the hotly contested semi-final, a very determined Zha Wenting charged to a 2-0 lead against Tang before letting the match slip away to 2-2. In the fifth and final game, both Zha and Tang were neck and neck until the end when leading 10-8 Zha served a top spin serve that Tang pushed long.
In the final, Zha would face Grace Yang, 2016 USA Junior Girls team member and Los Angeles native, who had an amazing string of matches to reach the final. Grace, seeded 7th in the Women’s event, reached the final through a series of hard fought and very close matches. First in her quarter-final she won a close 11-9 in the fifth match against 6th seed Chi Ge before facing 2nd seed Li Ruini in the semifinal. With the hometown Los Angeles crowd cheering her on, Grace pulled off the upset to win 3-1 over Li and book her place into the Women’s singles final.
Although Grace played some phenomenal rallies in the Women’s final, Zha was too consistent and won the match in straight games. Zha was all smiles as she claimed the 2016 Butterfly Women’s Single title and will be eager to defend it at next year’s event.