Shenzhen: Elise Mertens starts off 2020 strongly, defeats Lesia Tsurenko

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Shenzhen: Elise Mertens starts off 2020 strongly, defeats Lesia Tsurenko

Six first-round matches were played on Sunday, at the WTA Shenzhen Open. Third seed Elise Mertens, fifth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, and eighth seed Shuai Zhang were the seeded players who were pencilled into the day’s order of play.

The Belgian’s 6-3,6-3 win over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko was the first main-draw match result of the 2020 WTA Tour. It was also the first time she had defeated Tsurenko in their career meetings, after having lost the only previous time they faced each other, in 2017.

Mertens started off slowly after going down a break in the opening game of the match but soon got past her nerves to unsettle her opponent. Tsurenko had her moments in the match especially since she was coming off a six-month injury lay-off (elbow injury).

But these were scattered and the 30-year-old was not able to channel them further to her advantage. In the second round, Mertens will play China’s, Xiyu Wang. Wang, who received a wild card into the event, defeated Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

The two players traded breaks to begin the match but Cirstea eventually took the opening set 6-3. The latter two sets unfolded quite like unexpected for Cirstea as the 144th ranked player blistered her way through the match, dropping just two games en route to winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 41 minutes.

Alexandrova needed an hour and 28 minutes to beat the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova. The Russian won 6-4, 6-4. The world no. 35 won 81% points behind her first serve to Siniakova’s 53%. This was the pair’s fifth career meeting.

Their four previous meetings had been evenly split. In the second round, Alexandrova awaits the winner between Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and China’s Yafan Wang. Meanwhile, Zhang defeated Poland’s Magda Linette and extend her supremacy in their head-to-head to 5-0.

The 40th ranked Chinese player needed just 73 minutes to ease into the pre-quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Zhang won 78% points off her first service to Linette’s 64%. Second-service points, however, substantiated the difference between the two players.

Zhang won 50% points behind her second serves while Linette was lagging behind with just 28% points off her second service. In the next round, Zhang will play Kateryna Bondarenko. The Ukrainian defeated Japan’s Misaki Doi in their first-round match 6-4, 6-1. Photo Credit: WTA Twitter