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China Open: Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova cruise into Round 2; Johanna Konta knocked out

Beijing: World No 3 Elina Svitolina made a confident start to her China Open campaign with a 6-3 6-2 first-round victory over Chinese wildcard Zhu Lin on Sunday.

Svitolina, chasing her sixth title of the season, survived three break points in third game of the opening set before breaking her opponent’s serve to claim the set.

Zhu, currently ranked 115 in the world, struggled for rhythm as she committed 32 unforced errors during the match.

Elina Svitolina beat Chinese wildcard Zhu Lin in the first round of China Open. Twitter @WTA

Elina Svitolina beat Chinese wildcard Zhu Lin in the first round of China Open. Twitter @WTA

She was often pushed further down the baseline by her Ukrainian opponent, who fired 19 winners to seal victory.

Last year’s semi-finalist Svitolina will meet Wuhan Open runner-up Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the second round.

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova also made an impressive start to the tournament, beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-4.

Suarez Navarro had won three of her five previous meetings against Pliskova but the 25-year-old Czech this time needed just 73 minutes to secure a spot in the next round.

“I think the conditions suit me well, because it’s pretty fast -- the balls are flying,” Pliskova said on-court after the match. “I think I was serving well, and playing aggressive from the baseline.”

“The key was that I wanted to be aggressive, so she doesn’t have time to play her game. We played a few times already, always it was kind of tough, but today was the easiest match I’ve played against her.”

Caroline Wozniacki had a fright against a local favourite before she composed herself to go through 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1.

The Dane, ranked six in the world, made an early exit from the Wuhan Open last week.

She appeared determined to put that behind her in making a lightning-fast start in the Chinese capital, punishing China's Wang Qiang in the first set.

But if the fifth seed thought she was going to have it easy, she was mistaken, as the 55th-ranked Wang harnessed the support of the crowd to fight back.

The 25-year-old Wang sprang a surprise in taking the second set on the tie break to level the match.

But former No 1 Wozniacki, the 2010 China Open champion, regained her poise to seal the deciding set with ease.

The 27-year-old faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in round two.

Also through is reigning China Open champion Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated the German qualifier Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-3.

"When you're defending so many points it's always a little more pressure," Radwanska said.

"There are no easy matches and you're going to have to play your best game from the first round. I'm very happy with a two-set win."

China Open claimed its first high-profile victims on Sunday with Britain's Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia falling to surprise defeats in the first round.

The sixth seed Konta, who reached last year's final, appeared woefully short of confidence in getting thrashed by Romania's unseeded Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-2.

Konta exited soon after Kuznetsova — the seventh seed on the Beijing outdoor hard courts — was beaten by Lara Arruabarrena, the Spanish qualifier stunning her better-known opponent 6-7 (2-7), 7-5, 6-1.

With inputs from Reuters and AFP


Updated Date: Oct 01, 2017 20:48 PM

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