Two home favorites knocked out of Wuhan Open first round

Updated 2017-09-25 18:00:53 Xinhua
Wang Yafan of China returns the ball during the singles' first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania at 2017 WTA Wuhan Open in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Sept. 24, 2017. Wang lost 0-2. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Wang Yafan of China returns the ball during the singles' first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania at 2017 WTA Wuhan Open in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Sept. 24, 2017. Wang lost 0-2. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Round one of the 2017 Dongfeng Motors Wuhan Open kicked off on Sunday with two home stars Duan Yingying and Wang Yafan knocked out.

Duan was defeated by 16th-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-4 at the center court of the Optics Valley International Tennis Center.

"In the first set, I was a bit nervous. I'm not used to this atmosphere, also my opponent gave me a lot of pressure and challenges. Her returns were very deep. I think I did a very good job. But still, her returns were really at a very high level," said Duan.

After losing the first set, Duan wasted her 4-2 lead in the second set and was unable to withstand the aggressive attack from the Indian Wells champion, who won 4 games in a row to claim the victory.

"In the second set, I got used to the atmosphere. I made my service returns deeper. My performance was quite good. But at 4-4, my serve...was up and down in my mind. I couldn't get my first serve in; it's really unfortunate," Duan said.

Following Duan on center court was another Chinese wild card player Wang Yafan, who was eliminated by Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-3.

Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic pulled off the first upset of the tournament, easing past 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round.

The Czech had won two titles this season. The first was in Shenzhen in January and the second came in Bastad in June. But she had been on a four-match losing streak before winning her first round match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open last week. The victory over world no. 15 Mladenovic was her sixth win over a top 20 player this year, which was seen as some comeback for the 21-year-old star. Siniakova will next face Polish qualifier Magda Linette, who eliminated Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, 7-5, 6-4, in the second round.

Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia was another seeded player who bid farewell to Wuhan in the first round. The no. 15 seed suffered a straight set loss 6-4, 6-2 to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.

Sevastova took an early 3-0 lead in the first set before facing strong fight-back from her opponent. The 29-year-old Russian player saved three break points in the 10th game and sealed the first set 6-4. After backing on track, Makarova seemed unstoppable in the second set and easily pocketed a 6-2 win to conclude the match.

Three other home players will take the court on Monday: Zhang Shuai, Peng Shuai, and Wang Qiang. Peng's first round match against defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic will be the focus of the day.

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