WTA Hua Hin: Muguruza, Zhang and Zheng win, Garcia bows out
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2726
In the battle of a former Wimbledon champion and a runner-up, the top seed Garbine Muguruza took down Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 19 minutes. The struggling Spaniard had to play against two break points in the opening game of the match and she had the upper hand in the rest of the encounter, sailing through her service games and waiting for a chance on the return patiently.
Sabine gave her best to stay in touch but ruined the opportunity for a better result after landing less than 50% of the first serve in, facing five break points and suffering one break in each set to hit the exit door. Muguruza forged a lead in the sixth game of the opener, wasting a set point on the return at 5-3 but closing it with a hold at love a few minutes later.
Sabine couldn't do much on the return in set number two as well and she suffered a break at 3-3, allowing Garbine to seal the deal with two good holds in games eight and ten for the place in the last 16. The 5th seed Shuai Zhang needed an hour and eight minutes to dismiss Luksika Kumkhum 6-2, 6-1, losing serve once in each set but dominating on the return with six breaks of serve that propelled her safely into the second round.
The Swiss Viktorija Golubic fends off six out of eight break points against Sara Sorribes Tormo, creating 13 chances on the return and converting five for a 6-2, 6-4 win in a grueling an hour and 43 minutes. Golubic won five straight games in the first set and 16 of 19 at the start of the second to open a huge lead.
Saving three break points in game five, Sara started to climb back, leveling the score at 4-4 before dropping eight of the last ten points to hand the win to her rival. The 2nd seed Caroline Garcia asked for a wild card in Hua Hin but she didn't have a chance to stay longer in Thailand, losing to a qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and four minutes for an early exit.
The American landed only 47% of the first serve in although it worked like a charm, repelling nine out of 12 break points and winning 43% of return points to prevail in straight sets and reach round two. There were nine break points already in the opening four games of the match, with one loose serve for both to stay locked at 2-2, rattling off five easy holds after that before Garcia squandered five games points at 4-5 to lose serve and the opener.
The second set lasted for about 80 minutes and they stayed neck and neck before the tie break where Brady scored two mini-breaks for a 7-3 and the overall win. The 4th seed Saisai Zheng prevailed against Mandy Minella 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 46 minutes, winning 16 points more than her rival but still having to dig deep all the time to emerge as the winner.
Minella earned six break points and grabbed them all to catch the late train and prolong the match as much as possible, leading twice in the deciding set before crumbling in the last game of the encounter to push Zheng through.
The Chinese created 12 break opportunities and seized eight of those, failing to serve out for the opener (two set points wasted in the tie break) before outplaying the rival with a better performance in the closing stages of sets two and three. First round results:
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) vs [WC]Sabine Lisicki (GER) 6-3 6-4
Yafan Wang (CHN) vs Anna Blinkova (RUS) 5-7 6-2 6-1
Shuai Zhang (CHN) vs Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-2 6-1
Saisai Zheng (CHN) vs Mandy Minella (LUX) 6-7(8) 6-4 6-4
[Q]Yingying Duan (CHN) vs Pauline Marmentier (FRA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Viktorija Golubic (SUI) vs Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-2 6-4
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) vs Timea Babos (HUN) 6-0 3-1 Ret.
[Q]Jennifer Brady (USA) vs [2/WC]Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 7-6(3)