Halep, Pliskova, Navarro advance at Wuhan Open


Wuhan (China), Sep 27 (IANS) US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat compatriot Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-5 to reach the third round of the Wuhan Open tennis tournament here.

The world No.6 hit 12 aces, 10 more than Safarova and broke her serves four times to win the match in style on Monday. Safarova committed five double-faults and scored 14 points less than Pliskova, reports Xinhua.

Fourth seed Simona Halep's opening outing at the Wuhan Open came to a premature end when Irina-Camelia Begu retired midway through a Romanian second-round encounter.

Halep, who arrived in China with just six wins to her credit in the past three years in Asia, had a quicker-than-expected win on Monday as a back injury forced compatriot Begu to call it a day when trailing 3-6, 0-2.

Standing between Halep and her first quarter-final spot in Wuhan will be either Roberta Vinci or Yaroslava Shvedova.

Seventh seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain beat Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-4, 6-3, to set up a third-round clash against the winner between China's Zhang Shuai and Britain's Johanna Konta, a finalist here in 2014.

Zhang, who reached the semi-finals in both the Korea Open and the Pan Pacific Open this month, maintained her form with a three-set win over Chinese veteran Peng Shuai 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

"Today I reached 40 in my ranking. I'm quite happy with the current ranking," said Zhang, who reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.

"The past year, I have experienced a lot with a lot of surprises. The past year allowed me to dream something, the Grand Slam. I want to break my record and reach a higher ranking. We have many world-class events in China. That offers us the chance to improve," she added.

Another player who embraced recent resurgence on hard court is Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. The former world No.1 held off former US Open champion Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2 in the first round after she captured her first title of this season at Pan Pacific Open. Wozniacki also reached the US Open semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.

Other players into the second round included 10th seeded Dominika Cibulkova, who outlasted Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Petra Kvitova, 14th seed and the tournament champion in 2014, eased past Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-1. Kristina Mladenovic of France defeated Coco Vandeweghe 7-6(5), 6-3 to face world No.1 Kerber in the second round.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia, Britain's Heather Watson and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova retired half way in the first round partly due to the hot and humid weather here.



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Edited by Staff Editor
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