ZHENGZHOU: Sixth-seeded Sofia Kenin started the WTA’s Asian swing with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Chloe Paquet at the inaugural Zhengzhou Open on Monday.

The 20-year-old American, seeking a third WTA title this year following triumphs in Hobart and Mallorca, rallied from a break down in the second set to clinch the first-round win and advance to a possible match against another French player, Alize Cornet.

“I think I did a good job overall,” said Kenin, who saved three break points while trailing 4-3 in the second set before reeling off three straight games to close out the win after 83 minutes in sweltering conditions. “I’m happy to have started the Asian swing pretty solid.

“Chloe is a tough player. I lost to her in Strasbourg, so I knew I needed to figure out a way to win. Conditions are really hot. I’m kind of used to it... but it’s not easy. I’m happy to have gotten through it.”

The $1.5 million premier-level tournament in China’s Henan province is among the first this month in the region.

Eighth seed Caroline Garcia overcame a mid-match wobble to overcome Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 while seventh-seeded Petra Martic beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-1.

Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva battled past Tamara Zidansek 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in a rematch of this year’s Nuremberg Cup final to move into the second round.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, who was beaten in the opening round of the US Open, is among the main contenders in Zhengzhou having taken a wildcard to compete.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova is the top seed at the tournament ahead of Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019