The first round of the 2018 China Open is in the books and the second round is also underway. I’m getting more into this tournament as it doesn’t feel so rushed. Monday was a pretty standard day with the only upset the loss of the number 13 seed, Elise Mertens to home favourite, Zhang Shuai. Read on for six stories in Monday’s Set Points post for Beijing.
Muguruza beats Makarova on her 7th match point
Garbiñe Muguruza set up a blockbuster second rounder against Aryna Sabalenka with a mostly straightforward win over Ekaterina Makarova, 6-0 6-4. Muguruza had been in control leading 6-0 5-2 before Makarova mounted a comeback as the Spaniard noticeably tightened up. Muguruza eventually sealed the win on her seventh match point. She was short in the handshake with Makarova and then rather stormed off court, reluctantly signing a few autographs.
I can’t work out Muguruza right now. The Spaniard is still sporting the arm sleeve, perhaps linked to the injury she had during the summer. I thought Muguruza’s level looked pretty decent on Monday, even with a wobble at the end, against a tricky opponent. Interestingly, Muguruza’s last 11 wins have all come in straight sets, while she has lost her last five three set matches (via Tennis Abstract).
Muguruza-Sabalenka is an exciting prospect for Tuesday night in Beijing. The pair have never played each other before. I’m still uncertain about Muguruza so i’d favour Sabalenka in her recent form and bubble of confidence.
Wozniacki scores comfortable win over Bencic
Caroline Wozniacki scored a routine 6-2 6-3 first round victory over Belinda Bencic. I only caught the last few games with Woz winning on a gorgeous backhand winner. Bencic was very erratic and dropped her serve midway through the second set on a double fault. Bencic is another player that I can’t quite work out. The Swiss player looked like she was finding her form at Wimbledon where she pushed Kerber hard in their Manic Monday clash. Sadly, Bencic has not been able to push on and she is currently riding a five match losing streak. With respect, Bencic has faced some mean opposition through that run. I hope that health is on her side and that she can start afresh in 2019.
Osaka eases past Diyas
Naomi Osaka produced a professional display to beat Zarina Diyas in straights, 6-4 6-3. Osaka became increasingly dominant on return in the second set. While she failed to serve out the match, Osaka broke for the win. Next up is Danielle Collins on Tuesday which should be an interesting match.
Buzarnescu back in action
I watched back Mihaela Buzarnescu’s first match in nearly two months against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Buzarnescu injured her ankle in a nasty slip in Montreal. Sasnovich won this contest rather comfortable against Buzarnescu, 6-3 6-1. The Buz experience is a thing but this was a rather subdued performance on all levels! It seemed to me that the Romanian player was tentative, understandably, with her movement. I think this contributed to the large number of unforced errors that she produced. Buzarnescu is still in doubles action with Monica Niculescu and is scheduled to play Tianjin next week.
Keys out of Beijing
Sad news to see Madison Keys pull out of Beijing with the same injury as Wuhan. I was super intrigued to see how Keys vs. Sevastova would pan out.
For WTA tennis fans in the US…