Roundup: More top-flight casualties mark second round of WTA Wuhan Open

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-27 08:34:32|Editor: Lu Hui
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By Sportswriter Spencer Musick

WUHAN, China, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Today's second round action at the Dongfeng Motors Wuhan Open started off as it if might not contain the same degree of volatility that marked the day prior, with a top-seeded player winning her match, although not as easily as some might have expected.

But the chances of any return to normalcy (if such a thing exists at the moment on the tour) were quickly shattered as the proceedings here in Wuhan lived up to the WTA's current reputation for unpredictability.

The day started off with 9th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska bagging her 500th career win in a main draw by edging a win over Julia Georges of Germany, 7-5, 7-5.

Radwanska's signature aggressive play at the baseline was not enough this time to help her decisively control the match throughout, with the first six service games passing without a break on either side.

Radwanska was able to capture the momentum, however, with several smart plays combining with a double-fault by the German that kept her off balance for the remainder of the match.

Radwanska said after the match that she knew what her opponent was capable of and did not expect it to be an easy one.

"I know that she can really play great tennis, especially now, so I'm really glad to win in two sets," Radwanska said on court after the match. She also complimented her opponent's service game, calling it "very good."

"And of course when I have any chance to break, I was really focusing on that very much, key in that match. I was just better today for a few points -- that's it," Radwanska concluded.

Carolina Pliscova managed to avoid an upset on this roller coaster of a day, getting past Zhang Shuai in a relatively easy three sets: 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

It was a similar story with Dominka Cibulkova, who moved past wild card entry Jil Teichmann in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.

Other top seeds were not so fortunate on what progressively shaped up to be another tumultuous day here at the Optics Valley International Tennis center.

Romanian No. 2 seed Simona Halep crashed out in a stunning straight sets loss to No. 31 Daria Kasatkina of Russia.

The momentum in the 6-2, 6-1 second-round loss was always on the Russian's side, save for at the very outset with Halep managing to break her out of the gate, but that was to be the extent of Halep's dominance.

Kasatkina bagged 74 percent of her points on the first service and controlled the momentum on both serve and return. Halep made several unforced errors including several risky backhands that went straight into the net.

"I cannot say that I felt the ball too well today, so it was a little bit tough day for my game, for me. Still I think that she played maybe her best game against me, and she deserved to win for sure," Halep said in a post-match press conference.

Kasatkina goes on to meet Ekaterina Makarova tomorrow in round three.

Another top-seeded casualty tonight was 4th-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who fell in straight sets to Maria Sakkari of Greece, 7-5, 6-3.

Sakkari goes on to meet Russian Elena Vesnina in tomorrow's round three action.

China's Wang Qiang continued her hot streak with a straight-sets, 6-3, 6-3 win over Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

Wang says she is pleased with her results, but is not taking anything for granted.

"I'm really happy to make good results at Premier 5 events. I finished the last 8 in Dubai, and this time entered into the last 16. I will play against Plisikova in the next round, she is a good serve, and I have to focus on the court and try my best."

Meanwhile, crowd favorite Peng Shuai's journey here in Wuhan that saw her upset defending champion Petra Kvitova last night came to an end as she was defeated by Puerto Rican Monica Puig in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Gabrine Muguruza, the top dog here in Wuhan, managed to avoid the fate of several of her colleagues in the top flight, with a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 win over Lesia Tsurenko, but not without several tense moments and scares.

Muguruza took a commanding lead out of the gate, storming to a 4-0 lead only to watch her Ukrainian opponent gradually chip away at it with aggressive full-court play that made it seem touch-and-go for the world No. 1 at times.

A medical timeout half way through the first set looked like it could spell trouble for Muguruza, but she managed to regain her momentum and took the set without any real fuss.

The second set was a less tense affair, but it did contain a few nail biters as Muguruza missed several chances to seal the deal and let her opponent claw back up to nip at her heals before closing things out at just one hour, 45 minutes of play.

Muguruza, who received a bye into round two, goes on to meet Magda Linette of Poland in round three.