Shenzhen: Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza kick-off season with wins

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Shenzhen: Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza kick-off season with wins

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka needed an hour and 11 minutes to defeat Margarita Gasparyan to open her 2020 season on a successful note. The Belarusian defeated the Russian 6-3, 6-0, winning 70% points on her first service.

Sabalenka also saved three of the four break points she faced while converted five of the 11 break points she had on Gasparyan’s serve. After the match, Sabalenka told the press, “Of course, I'm happy to start my season with a two-set win!

It was a tough match, and really tough to start. She's a great player and it was tough to play against her. She has strong strokes. I tried my best and I'm happy I finished with the win”. Sabalenka will play the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Pliskova in the second round.

Pliskova defeated Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-3 in 76 minutes on Monday, as well. Muguruza’s Uphill Climb Former world no. 1 Garbine Muguruza needed three sets to open her 2020 campaign with a win. In her first-round match against Chinese wild-card Xinyu Wang 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and 34 minutes.

The sixth-seeded Spaniard’s form looked lackadaisical at the start of the match. This was mainly due to the teenager’s on-point game. However, Muguruza found a way to breach through Wang’s aggression to first level the match at a set apiece before romping to victory with a third-set bagel.

She said, “It was not my best start. I had to come back and bring something different to the match because it wasn't going my way. I think she was playing great, but I just had to wait for my opportunities, and stay in the match”.

Muguruza takes on the United States’ Shelby Rogers in the second round. In their American derby, Rogers defeated qualifier Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 on Monday. Kazakhstan’s seventh seed Elena Rybakina also needed three sets to get past China’s Saisai Zheng.

In a match of steep shifts, Rybakina took the win 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. Rybakina will play another Chinese player, Yafan Wang in the pre-quarter-finals. Wang beat Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 in their Sunday opener.

In our Sunday’s report, we had mistakenly mentioned that fifth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova would play the winner between Yafan Wang and Tormo. However, Alexandrova awaits the winner between Shuai Peng and Lin Zhu. At the time of publishing this report, Peng and Zhu had split sets with Peng winning the first set 6-2 and Zhu winning the second, 6-3.

Fourth seed Qiang Wang will face Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round. On Monday, the Chinese player beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-0, 6-3. In their opening-round face-off on the same day, Sasnovich got the better of German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2, 6-3.