China Open: Coco Gauff clinches opener; Elena Rybakina breezes into R32

Qinwen Zheng's game was inexplicably poor against Rybakina as she collected solely three games

by Abbey Johnson
China Open: Coco Gauff clinches opener; Elena Rybakina breezes into R32
© Fred Lee/ Getty Images

Coco Gauff, the world no. 3, started her bid at the 2023 China Open with a straight-sets win over Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round on Monday. The teenager posted a 7-5, 6-3 win over Alexandrova after 82 minutes of play.

This is the first time the American’s playing on the tour since her title run at Flushing Meadows, a month ago. Gauff was held back in the winners she hit as compared to Alexandrova – 11 to the latter’s 19.

However, she controlled her shots better leading to fewer unforced errors as that of her opponent, 11 to her 24. Gauff converted four of eight break points on Alexandrova’s serve while saving three of five break points she faced.

After the match, Gauff shared, “…Overall I'm happy with how I was able to push through. Is it how I like to play? Probably not. But I knew coming in was going to be tough, just coming from across the world. This is the first time here.

I knew it was going to be a tough match for me regardless. Especially Alexandrova, she's a great player. I'm happy with how I was able to manage”.

China Open: Elena Rybakina hammers through Qinwen Zheng's defences

Meanwhile, another Major titlist, the 2022 Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina also won her first-round match.

In what was the last match on Monday, the fifth seed from Kazakh powered past Qinwen Zheng in merely an hour, 6-1, 6-2. The match began on a treacherous note for Zheng, who was returning to the tour after winning the Asian Games in Hangzhou a couple of weeks ago.

After merely 16 minutes of play, Rybakina raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Zheng held her serve. The 24-year-old served out the set in the seventh game. In the second set, Zheng won her opening service game but the set went downhill thereafter.

A service hold in the seventh game proved to be consolatory for the highest-ranked Chinese player as Rybakina served out the match in the eighth game. Lastly, Ons Jabeur won her first-round match at the China Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ashlyn Krueger.

This was the Tunisian’s sixth win in a row going back to her title claim at the Ningbo Open, on Saturday.

Other Results© Abbey Johnson

Coco Gauff Elena Rybakina Qinwen Zheng