WUHAN, September 24, 2018 (Press Release)
Day Two of the 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open boasts a schedule full of marquee names and must-watch matches at the Optics Valley International Tennis Center in the Central Chinese city.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza opens her 2018 Wuhan Open campaign on Monday and has the chance to take revenge against Alison Van Uytvanck after the talented Belgian knocked her out of Wimbledon earlier this year.
Former US Open finalist Madison Keys must quieten the home crowd when she plays Chinese qualifier Yafan Wang and last year’s Wuhan Open finalist Ashleigh Barty has a potentially tough first match against former Top 10 player Johanna Konta.
Kiki Bertens has the toughest of turnarounds. Bertens won the Korea Open in Seoul on Sunday night and was then scheduled to travel to Wuhan in time to play a potentially difficult opening match against Belinda Bencic on Monday.
Kontaveit and Zhang victorious
Anett Kontaveit scored Sunday’s biggest upset when she knocked out 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens with a hard-fought 46 75 64 victory in a compelling contest that ran late into the evening.
Sunday also saw China’s Shuai Zhang delight her home crowd with an emphatic win over Samantha Stosur to crown a memorable opening day of Main Draw play.
Both Zhang and the crowd got a special treat when she was joined on court by Chinese tennis legend and Wuhan native Li Na, who brought on two lucky fans to play some friendly Pro-Am points while the crowd roared them on. Earlier in the evening they had been treated to an opulent ceremony, marking the opening of this year’s tournament and the event’s fifth birthday.
“Every time I see Li Na, I feel excited,” said Zhang. “Li Na is my role model. I look up to her as an athlete. She is the pride of China as well as Asia. Also Wuhan is a very special place for us. This is the hometown of Li Na. She was the pride of all the Wuhan people here.”
Zhang seemed in her element when she delivered a masterful performance to defeat 2011 US Open champion Stosur 62 62 in front of an ecstatic Chinese crowd in Wuhan’s 15,000-seater center court.
Qualifier Katerina Siniakova won her third match in as many days when she knocked out Kristina Mladenovic with a gritty 76(4) 62 victory, while 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Monica Puig, who also came through qualifying, kept up her winning run with a 75 57 63 win against Kirsten Flipkens.
US Open champion Naomi Osaka was forced to withdraw from this year’s Wuhan Open with a viral illness. Her place is taken in the draw by lucky loser Polona Hercog. Magdalena Rybarikova has also pulled out, citing upper respiratory illness, and will be replaced by lucky loser Monica Niculescu.
RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 23, 2018
Women’s Singles – First Round
A. Kontaveit (EST) d  S. Stephens (USA) 46 75 64
 J. Goerges (GER) d [LL] M. Vondrousova (CZE) 63 36 76(4)
 D. Kasatkina (RUS) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 64 75
A. Sasnovich (BLR) d  E. Mertens (BEL) 76(5) 76(3)
[WC] S. Zheng (CHN) d D. Collins (USA) 26 64 62
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d A. Sevastova (LAT) 62 63
S. Zhang (CHN) d [WC] S. Stosur (AUS) 62 62
[Q] K. Siniakova (CZE) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 76(4) 62
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d K. Flipkens (BEL) 75 57 63
[Q] R. Peterson (SWE) d T. Babos (HUN) 67(0) 64 41 Retired
Women’s Doubles – First Round
J. Ostapenko (LAT) / A. Sabalenka (BLR) d  A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 63 62
S. Aoyama (JPN) / L. Marozava (BLR) d N. Kichenok (UKR) / A. Rodionova (AUS) 64 63
[WC] Y. Duan (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) d B. Bencic (SUI) / A. Cornet (FRA) 06 76(2) 10-6