WTA Zhuhai: Elise Mertens, Dayana Yastremska and Sofia Kenin score triumphs


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WTA Zhuhai: Elise Mertens, Dayana Yastremska and Sofia Kenin score triumphs

The 2nd seed and one of the title favorites at the WTA Elite event, Sofia Kenin took down the 7th seed Alison Riske 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes in their first meeting on the Tour. It was a flawless performance from the younger American who lost 12 points in ten service games, never facing troubles on serve and stealing Riske's serve once in each set to find herself over the top.

Alison gave her best to stay in touch but two loose service games cost her dearly, suffering a break at love at 2-2 in the first and 1-1 in the second set to push Kenin towards the finish line. Elise Mertens defeated Maria Sakkari 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in an hour and 44 minutes, sending the Greek out from the competition.

It was their seventh meeting and the fourth victory for the Belgian, the first since 2014, when they battled on lower-ranked events. Today, Elise had the upper hand in sets she won, giving serve away four times but taking more than half of the return points to steal Maria's serve no less than seven times and dominate in sets one and three.

The Belgian moved in front with a break at love in the third game, fending off three break chances at 3-2 and securing another break at love in the seventh game before closing the set on own serve a few minutes later. Sakkati took charge in set number two, breaking Mertens three times in a row to take it 6-3 and force a decider where Elise restored the order, delivering three consecutive breaks to find herself over the top.

The 10th seed and the youngest player in the draw Dayana Yastremska toppled Donna Vekic 7-6 6-2 after an hour and 35 minutes and the hitting of the highest order. The Ukrainian fired almost 40 winners and dominated with her first serve, fending off two set points in the first set tie break and dominating in the rest of the encounter after repelling all three break chances to mount the pressure on the Croatian.

Donna gave her best to stay in touch in the first set, surviving a couple of challenging service games to set up a tie break where she opened a 6-4 lead before Dayana rattled off four straight points to steal it and gather a massive momentum ahead of set number two.

Vekic made a perfect start in set number two with two holds at love but that was all we saw from here, getting broken in games five and seven to propel Dayana towards the finish line.