China's Wang Qiang, the No.2 seed, beat India's Ankita Raina 6-2, 6-1 to claim a first round victory at the 2018 WTA Jiangxi Open, while two No.4 Kurumi Nara and No.7 Duan Yingying crashed out. "I'm trying to adapt to the climate and hard surface.
I am very happy with the win and ready to the 2nd round," said Wang who struck 19 winners to her opponent's 14 and 14 unforced errors to Raina's 27. The contest wasn't as straightforward as the score could suggest.
Wang, who beat Raina back in 2014 on grass in Kurume in their only previous meetings, saved three break points at 1-0 in the second set of a match that featured eight deuce games. Wang reached the quarterfinal here in 2014, losing to Peng Shuai, but since then has not progressed past the second round.
Wang is one of four WTA Top 100 players competing in the main draw at Nanchang this year, alongside her countrywoman No.30 Zhang Shuai, No.32 Magda Linette and No.99 Kurumi Nara, who was upset 3-6 6-2 6-4 by 2017 quarter-finalist Jing-Jing Lu who hadn't beaten a higher-ranked opponent so far this season.
Nara who reached the quarterfinal in 2016, losing to Duan, suffered her second straight first-round defeat in the tournament's history. In an all Chinese affair, Zhu Lin upset seventh-seeded Duan Yingying 6-2 6-3 to advance to the second round.
Duan, one of six players in this year's field with a WTA to their name, returned as the only former champion in the main draw in Nanchang, where she won her maiden tour title in 2016. Duan had won both their previous meetings, in Pattaya City three years ago after Zhu retired, and in 2009 in Qian Shan, but she still hasn't fully recovered from an injury.
Former World No.43 Margarita Gasparyan picked up her first WTA main draw victory in over two years. The young Russian of Armenian descent won her maiden title in Baku in 2015 and finished the 2016 campaign on a high note having played the Fed Cup final in Italy after a streak of Russian star refused to take part to the tie.
That year, she managed to beat Sara Errani, Karolina Pliskova, Kristina Mladenovic and Camila Giorgi. Soon the left knee problems forced her to stop and undergo three different surgeries last year. Her smile and gorgeous one-handed backhand resurfaced in Nanchang as she scored her first WTA win against qualifier and former junior World No.1 Xu Shilin 6-1, 6-4.