Jiangxi Open: Vera Zvonareva and Diana Shnaider set up an intriguing R16 meeting

Lin Zhu, the second-highest ranked Chinese player in the world, made a quick exit

by Abbey Johnson
Jiangxi Open: Vera Zvonareva and Diana Shnaider set up an intriguing R16 meeting
© Fred Lee/ Getty Images

Vera Zvonareva won her first-round match at the Jiangxi Open on Monday. The 39-year-old needed just 61 minutes to post a 6-1, 6-2 over Arianne Hartono. Neither player had any aces. However, Hartono had six double faults to her older opponent’s one double fault.

Zvonareva won 21 of 25 first-serve points to Hartono winning 14 of 24 of her first-serve points. The former world no. 2 won 17 of 21 points on return on Hartono’s second serve. Zvonareva faced three break points of which she saved two.

The break on her serve came in the second set. Meanwhile, she converted six of eight break points she brought up on the Dutch player’s serve. After having a fairly decent outing at the Zhengzhou Open last week, where she won against top-20 player Veronika Kudermetova, Zvonareva would be looking to continue doing the same this week.

Looking to reach the quarters, she will now play Diana Shnaider. Shnaider upset fifth seed and local favourite, Lin Zhu in their first-round clash. The teenager took 75 minutes to wrap up a 6-4, 6-0 win. Throughout the match, Shnaider converted five of six break points on her opponent’s serve while saving one of the two break points she faced.

The world no. 72 won 18 of 24 points on return on her higher-ranked rival’s second serve. This will be the first time Zvonareva and Shnaider will play against each other. It’s also an inter-generational battle given that the latter player’s two decades younger than her opponent.

Jiangxi Open: Home hopefuls disappoint en masse

Apart from Zhu, three other Chinese players exited the tournament in the first round. Camila Osorio defeated qualifier Yexin Ma 6-1, 6-0 in their match-up after just 54 minutes of play.

The lone game Ma won came on account of a break of the Colombian’s serve. Osorio won 16 of 18 points on return on Ma’s second serve and converted six break points. Kimberly Birrell needed an hour and 59 minutes to score a 7-5, 7-5 win over Sijia Wei, who’d also qualified for the main draw.

Birrell will play either top-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia or Nao Hibino in the second round. Lastly, eighth seed Sara Sorribes Tormo posted a 6-4, 6-0 win over wildcard entrant, Xinyu Jiang after 74 minutes of play. The Spaniard was the only other seed, aside from Zhu, who opened play on Monday.

Lucky loser Amina Anshba notched the only three-set win on Monday at the Jiangxi Open. Anshba lost the opening set before clinching a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Elina Avanesyan after two hours and 36 minutes.

Vera Zvonareva Diana Shnaider Lin Zhu