Wuhan Open 1st round wraps up with top seeds advancing, mixed results for local players

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-24 22:01:55|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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By sportswriters Spencer Musick and Michael Butterworth

WUHAN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Although it was mostly business as usual here for the top seeds here at the ongoing Dongfong Motor Wuhan Open, some surprises did occur, with a local Chinese player managing to upset a higher-seeded competitor in a nail-biter of a match.

The day started with world No. 14 Gabrine Muguruza getting a measure of revenge against Alison Van Uytvanck after being stunned by her at this year's Wimbledon, defeating the Belgian 6-4, 6-0 in a little over one hour.

Muguruza seemed comfortable out of the gate, and the outcome of the match was never really in doubt, despite the two fighting to deuce and holding their serves consistently in the first set.

Speaking after her victory, Muguruza said she was pleased to have played better than during her Wimbledon defeat. "I think I played a good match in general, and my intensity and my concentration was there. It's always good to play against someone who beat you and feel good that you did better than in the previous match."

Muguruza faces Swedish qualifier Viktorija Golubic in round two action tomorrow.

The next match up saw world No. 18 Madison Keys of the United States defeat Chinese qualifier Wang Yafan in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 in their first-round clash.

Wang put up a better fight than the scoreline suggests, but in the end was unable to overcome the raw power of one of the most powerful shooters on the WTA circuit.

Wang won the coin toss and chose to return, a curious decision to say the least given that Keys has shown consistency on serve as of late.

Keys serve was indeed strong in this match; she hit two aces and won 76 percent of her first-service points.

Keys deployed her signature, powerful forehand to overwhelm Wang when she was on serve, and held her own on return with her trademark aggressive play from the baseline.

Wang's most promising chances came when she pushed full court, including several volleys at the net and shots down the line moving the American out of her baseline comfort zone.

Keys goes on to face world No. 3 Angelique Kerber, who received a bye into round two.

Meanwhile, 2017 Wuhan Open runner-up Ashleigh Barty got her tournament off to a winning start, defeating Britain's Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-4 in one hour 40 minutes. Though Konta played well at the net, her long game was pockmarked by several unforced errors, and Barty's greater consistency on serve saw her through.

Speaking to Xinhua after the match, Konta admitted that Barty had deserved the win. "I thought it was a competitive match. I didn't serve as well as I had wanted to in the first set," Konta said.

I think it got a little better in the second, but I definitely felt that I didn't do as well as I would have liked, especially against someone like Ashley who serves so well."

"Ashley is a very tricky player to play," Konta continued. "She's very hard to beat and I think she showed that. Obviously, I'm disappointed not to have another chance, but I lost to the better player today."

Barty will face Chinese wildcard Zheng Saisai in a round two clash tomorrow.

It was a rollercoaster of a match between Chinese wildcard Wang Qiang and No. 31 Maria Sakkari of Greece in the evening session. Sakkari surrendered a three-set lead on the way to losing the first set 7-5, and went on to duly lose the second set 6-2 off the back of some extremely spotty shooting.

Sakkari hit four aces but also had as many double faults, becoming visibly frustrated as her shots kept finding the net.

Wang set up a second-round meeting with World No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, who received a bye into round 2.

The late match on center court is a round two clash between China's Zhang Shuai and Polona Hercog. Doubles action of note saw China's Zheng Saisai and her Australian partner Daria Gavrilova overtake Alicja Rosolska (Poland) and Abagail Speaks (United States) 6-4, 4-6, 10-7.