Coco Gauff made the most of a second chance at the Linz Open, while Belinda Bencic suffered a surprise defeat on Tuesday.

Teenage sensation Gauff was defeated by Tamara Korpatsch in qualifying on Monday but entered the main draw as a lucky loser when sixth seed Maria Sakkari withdrew with a right wrist injury.

The American 15-year-old, playing her first WTA Tour event since losing to Naomi Osaka at the US Open, defeated Stefanie Voegele 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in two hours and two minutes to set up a meeting with Kateryna Kozlova in the second round.

Speaking about her last-minute entry into the main draw, Gauff told a news conference: "It was very surprising because I was supposed to do a press thing today. I had practiced earlier, went back to the hotel, and then got a phone call, and was back on court 40 minutes later.

"I didn't know too much about my opponent; I found out a little how she plays through word of mouth, but most of it was me improvising.

"This is my first WTA win indoors. I live in Florida, so we don't get a chance to play indoors that much, but I enjoy it."

Second seed Bencic lost in three sets to qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam, but Donna Vekic – seeded fourth – cruised past Polona Hercog 6-1 6-1.

Barbora Strycova lost 6-4 6-4 to Alize Cornet, while Julia Goerges and Kristina Mladenovic were among the other victors.

Saisai Zheng overcame her regular doubles partner Ying-Ying Duan to book her place in the second round of the Tianjin Open.

Zheng defeated Sloane Stephens on her way to the third round of the China Open last week - a second top-20 win of the year - and continued her form against Duan.

Having entered as a wildcard, Duan, who also faced her doubles partner in Guangzhou in this season's Asian swing, forced a tie-break in the first set, but Zheng - defeated by world number one Ashleigh Barty in Beijing - ultimately came out on top with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 triumph.

Meanwhile, second seed Wang Qiang defeated Arina Rodionova in straight sets, while world number 23 Dayana Yastremska bettered Lin Zhu to set up a second-round tie with 2016 Tianjin champion Peng Shuai.

After her doubles triumph in Beijing, Sofia Kenin withdrew from her match with Kristie Ahn, who then lost to Wang Xiyu, with Seoul runner up Magda Linette easing past Christina McHale.

Linette will face Kurumi Nara, after the qualifier beat Great Britain's Harriet Dart. Wang Xinyu got the better of Ma Shuyue. 

 

Andrea Petkovic cruised into the second round of the Linz Open with a crushing defeat of Jil Teichmann and Coco Gauff failed to qualify on Monday.

Petkovic has twice reached the semi-finals of the tournament in Austria and moved into round two with a 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Teichmann.

The experienced German knocked Teichmann out in the first round of the China Open last week and took just 68 minutes to send the Swiss packing once again.

Teenage prodigy Gauff will not feature in the main draw after she was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Petkovic's compatriot Tamara Korpatsch in qualifying.

Viktoria Kuzmova eased to a 6-4 6-2 victory over Julia Grabher, while Anna Blinkova fell to a 6-1 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-5) first-round defeat to Kateryna Kozlova on day one.

Caroline Garcia came from behind to avoid a shock defeat in the first round of the Tianjin Open, but Venus Williams was dumped out.

Fourth seed Garcia lost the first set to Anastasia Potapova before fighting back to claim a 2-6 6-2 6-2 win.

Seven-time grand slam champion Williams could not produce a similar recovery, however, losing 6-3 4-6 6-3 to Rebecca Peterson, who maintained her upward momentum after winning her maiden WTA singles title in Nanchang last month.

Williams spurned two match points in a defeat to Belinda Bencic in the second round of the China Open last time out and was unable to deliver the kind of display that saw her push a top-10 player to the limit as she fell at the first hurdle.

Sixth seed Yulia Putintseva needed three sets to see off Astra Sharma 6-1 1-6 7-5, while Sam Stosur - a finalist in Guangzhou last month - also had to go the distance to beat Yang Zhaoxuan.

There was home success for Wang Yafan, the Chinese dishing out a bagel in a straight-sets defeat of Lauren Davis, while Heather Watson overcame Kateryna Bondarenko.

 

 

Naomi Osaka came from a set down to beat world number one Ashleigh Barty in the China Open final and claim her second WTA Tour title in succession.

Osaka, the champion on home soil at last month's Pan Pacific Open, extended her winning streak to 10 matches with a richly deserved 3-6 6-3 6-2 triumph in Beijing.

The Japanese has endured an up-and-down year but now shapes as the form player heading into the WTA Finals later this month, having earned the second Premier Mandatory title of her career 19 months on from a breakthrough success in Indian Wells.

"I just really wanted to win here, I felt I had something to prove," said Osaka in the on-court presentation.

"Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash. This is a final, I'm really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting."

Although Barty took the first set on Sunday, Osaka could take plenty of heart from the fact she looked untroubled on serve barring the one game in which she was broken.

Barty saved two break points on her way to winning the opener and a third early in set two, but Osaka's pressure was eventually rewarded as she finally enjoyed success on her rival's serve and levelled the contest.

Another break came Osaka's way at the start of the decider and a subsequent missed chance for Barty, who put a forehand long when she had a chance to get back to 2-2, proved crucial.

Osaka, who ended the long winning run of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu at the quarter-final stage, soon reeled off eight points in a row to open up a 5-2 lead, before converting her second match point to seal victory.

Naomi Osaka's impressive run to the China Open has come despite the Japanese star struggling for sleep.

The two-time grand slam champion made her second consecutive WTA Tour final on Saturday by knocking out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-2 in Beijing.

Osaka also saw off US Open winner Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-finals and produced another fine display in her semi-final win over Wozniacki despite a short turnaround of under 24 hours between the two matches.

"I haven't slept since before I played Bianca so I did not emotionally prepare," Osaka, 21, said after her 65-minute Wozniacki triumph.

"I just tried to sleep as much as I could and then before I knew it, I had to come back here.

"Don't get me wrong, I love it here, but it's definitely been a bit crazy time-wise.

"I went to sleep at 4:00am, I woke up at 6:00am, so solid two hours, I can't really sleep after my matches. I just feel like my adrenaline's up more during the tougher matches so it makes it harder to sleep."

Osaka won on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open at her last event and has ended two impressive streaks at this premier mandatory tournament.

Wozniacki had won 20 consecutive sets at the China Open dating back to last year's event before losing emphatically, while Andreescu had tasted victory in 17 straight matches before Osaka accounted for her.

In Sunday's final, the Japanese star will meet Ashleigh Barty, the player who took the number one ranking from her after the US Open.

Osaka said: "I just can't make too many unforced errors [against Barty]. For me, she's a consistent power player. She also has a lot of change-up shots.

"I feel like half of what I have to do is not be too crazy on the change-up shots and also try to be the more aggressive player out there.

"This year has definitely been very up and down. Of course Australia was great, everyone knows Europe was terrible for me. 

"The US Open was pretty bad and after that I didn't do anything, took a break, told everyone that I was going to do well here [on the Asian swing]. I kind of promised everyone so I'm trying to pull through on that."

Barty saved a match point before defeating Kiki Bertens in a thrilling final-set tie-break in the first semi-final.

Naomi Osaka dumped out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki to book a huge China Open final against Ashleigh Barty.

Following up on her win at the Pan Pacific Open, Australian Open champion Osaka reached another final by impressively defeating Wozniacki, a two-time winner of this tournament, 6-4 6-2.

She will now do battle with Barty, the player who regained the world number one ranking from her after the US Open, in Beijing on Sunday, bidding for her second career premier mandatory title.

Barty had earlier saved a match point to earn a thrilling 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7) victory over Kiki Bertens in a battle lasting two hours and 20 minutes, the Australian reaching her fifth final of 2019.
 

IN-FORM OSAKA ENDS WOZNIACKI STREAK

Osaka fired 30 winners to Wozniacki's 13 and converted three of her five break points as her assertive style proved decisive in a 65-minute victory.

Wozniacki had incredibly won 20 consecutive sets at the China Open dating back to her 2018 victory at the event, but failed to take any of her seven break points as that spectacular run came to an emphatic end.

Osaka saved one of those break opportunities to level a close first set at 4-4 before building on that momentum.

She made the decisive break with a forehand winner down the line in the next game and then held to claim the first set, sealing the opener with a powerful volley.

The second set was more comfortable, as Osaka's momentum continued with a break in the opening game.

Wozniacki had chances, though, with two missed opportunities to break straight back and another going begging that could have prevented her Japanese opponent moving into a 3-1 lead.

Osaka then broke again to move into complete control and an unreturned serve on her first match point soon after finished the job.
 

BARTY 'NEVER BEEN HAPPIER' AFTER EPIC WIN 

Barty had needed three sets to move through her previous two matches and was pushed to the limit again in her semi-final.

Asked about winning the crucial points, Barty said: "That's gone hand-in-hand with adding some new people to my team, trying to work with them behind the scenes.

"Not just for my tennis, it's for my life, my health and wellbeing as well, which has been the best thing. I have never been happier off the court, never been happier on the court. It's been a brilliant time in my life.

"I enjoy those moments. I enjoy when it's tight, when your back's against the wall. That really brings out the fun for me."

The world number one – who had won all four of the previous meetings between the pair - claimed 12 of the first 14 points, breaking in the second game.

That strike was all she needed in order to claim the opening set, as Bertens threatened to recover at 5-3 down only for Barty to eventually convert her sixth set point.

It was Bertens' turn to make a fast start in the second set, though, racing into a 3-0 lead and not conceding a break point en route to levelling the match.

That led to a dramatic final set where both players broke twice, Bertens failing to serve out the match at 5-4 as Barty forced an epic tie-break. 

Barty lost the first three points but recovered to lead 6-5 before being unable to convert a match point on her own serve. Her Dutch rival then missed her chance at victory having moved 7-6 ahead.

The Australian won three straight points from there, sealing victory with her second match point after Bertens sent a backhand return long. 

Naomi Osaka was keen to remind the tennis world of the threat she poses as she ended Bianca Andreescu's stunning winning run in the China Open quarter-finals.

Osaka won the 2018 US Open and started the new year by claiming the Australian Open, moving to world number one, but her season then unravelled with a series of unconvincing performances.

Meanwhile, Andreescu emerged as one of the outstanding talents on the WTA Tour, stringing together 17 consecutive victories that included taking the Flushing Meadows title for her own breakthrough major success.

But Osaka spoiled the party in Beijing on Friday, rallying from a set down to stun her 19-year-old opponent 5-7 6-3 6-4, continuing an impressive Asian swing.

The Japanese won the Pan Pacific Open and is now into the last four of the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the year, with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki up next.

Wozniacki, who has endured a tough year, defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to maintain her hopes of becoming the first woman to win this competition three times.

 

'I'M STILL HERE!'

It appears Osaka was hurt by the public and media response to her tough middle section of the year, now determined to prove her worth again in the final weeks of the season.

"It meant a lot because I feel like people counted me out after the Europe thing," she said, having failed to reach a final on clay or grass. "I still won a slam this year, I won [the Pan Pacific Open].

"I'm still here. But there's a sort of beauty to be underrated."

As well as reaching the semi-finals in Beijing, Osaka also booked her place at the WTA Finals with victory, joining Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and opponent Andreescu.

 

'LOSING SUCKS!'

Andreescu had not been beaten in a completed match since March and so, quite understandably, was not used to the feeling of coming up short on Friday.

"I forgot how it feels [to lose]," she said. "Honestly, it sucks. I didn't miss it at all. But at least I didn't get whooped one and one. I put up a fight.

"Honestly, it could have went either way. It was just some points here and there. At the same time, I am pissed, but at the same time, I'm proud of myself with how I played today.

"I really fought, especially in that last game. Holy crap, that was crazy."

 

BARTY THROUGH

While many eyes were distracted by the Osaka-Andreescu tussle, world number one Barty advanced in the other half of the draw, beating Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-4 6-3.

This was another superb contest, leading the French Open champion to claim: "From my opinion, that was one of the highest quality matches I played all year.

"Petra always has a way of bringing out the best in me, she really does."

The Australian faces Kiki Bertens next after the Dutch star upset third seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets. "I think I stepped up my game today," Bertens said.

Bianca Andreescu swatted aside Jennifer Brady to set up a mouth-watering China Open quarter-final with Naomi Osaka.

US Open champion Andreescu took just 67 minutes to defeat qualifier Brady 6-1 6-3 and extend her winning streak on the WTA Tour to 17 matches on Thursday.

The Canadian's next opponent is two-time major champion Osaka, who won 10 straight games to come from a break down and seal a 6-4 6-0 victory over Alison Riske.

Caroline Wozniacki beat Katerina Siniakova 7-5 6-4 to reach her second quarter-final of the season. The 16th seed will face Daria Kasatkina after the Russian beat compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3.

 

SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE

Andreescu has not suffered defeat in a completed match since Acapulco in March, while Osaka has won her past seven matches in straight sets.

Ahead of their first meeting on the WTA Tour, Osaka thinks the fifth seed is in better form than she was after claiming her maiden major at the 2018 US Open.

"I was watching her play Toronto when I was there. It's pretty obvious she is an amazing player," the Japanese, who won the Pan Pacific Open last month, said of Andreescu.

"I don't know. I feel like she's doing better than I was last year, so it's all cool. I have to learn from her, too."

 

WOZNIACKI ON FORM

Two-time China Open champion Wozniacki twice battled from a break down to take the opening set against Siniakova, who saved a break point to avoid going 5-1 down in the second.

The Czech rallied to get back into the match but paid the price for making 43 unforced errors.

"I'm happy to have played well so far in the tournament. I've been feeling pretty good. That's always a plus. We'll just see," said Wozniacki.

"Hopefully it's not the end of the tournament for me. Hopefully I have a couple more matches in me. I'm just going to go and see."

 

THE RUSSIAN WALL

Alexandrova charged ahead in an opening set that saw just three holds of serve, but Kasatkina put two of them together to take five straight games and seize the initiative.

Kasatkina displayed immense defence to do so and she kept it up in the second to triumph despite twice dropping serve.

"The Russian wall came back in China," said Kasatkina of her tenacious play. "She was better at the beginning, but together with Carlos [Martinez, her coach] I managed to get my game back and start to play better."

US Open champion Bianca Andreescu's incredible unbeaten run continued as she fought past Elise Mertens at the China Open.

In a rematch of their Flushing Meadows quarter-final, Andreescu survived a second-set fightback from the Belgian to progress to the last 16 in Beijing.

World number one Ashleigh Barty went the distance with Zheng Saisai but powered through in the third set to keep her hopes alive.

Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens also progressed along with Elina Svitolina, but Madison Keys was on the wrong end of a stunning turnaround from fellow American Jennifer Brady.

 

ANDREESCU TRIUMPHS IN TOUGH BATTLE

Andreescu trailed 4-1 in the second set with Mertens, who had a set point to force a decider at 5-4.

However, Andreescu saved that before breaking back to force a tie-break, which she edged to complete a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) triumph.

Andreescu is unbeaten in 16 matches and has not lost a completed contest since March.

"Today was more of a battle mentally with myself than anything," the 19-year-old said. "I felt like I was getting very down on myself.

"I expect a lot from myself in general, but I have to realise not everything is going to go the way I want it to."


BRADY TURNS TABLES ON KEYS

Brady trailed by a set and a break against former US Open finalist Keys, but the qualifier produced a remarkable comeback to claim her fourth top-20 win of the season.

She came through 2-6 6-4 6-4 after one hour and 56 minutes, but acknowledged fortune played a significant role in her victory, which sets up a third-round clash with Andreescu.

 "I was just letting her dictate and take control and be the one in charge," said Brady. "I feel like I got a bit lucky with a few points here and there and was able to turn around the match.

"I think it was just mentally, being able to stay in there and fight. Not give in, not look at the score, just stay positive and stay within myself. Look to play my game and be more aggressive, knowing that if I stay in there, things can happen. And they did. I was happy they did."


50 NOT OUT FOR BARTY!

A former cricketer in the Big Bash League, Barty reached her half-century for 2019 as she claimed her 50th win of the year on Wednesday.

She did so with a display of grit that would have been well suited to a long spell at the crease, winning 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes.

The Australian becomes the second woman to reach 50 wins on Tour this year, drawing level with Karolina Pliskova.

Barty will next face Kvitova after the two-time Wimbledon champion overcame Belinda Bencic, while Bertens' reward for beating Polona Hercog is a match with Svitolina, whose three-set win over Sofia Kenin finished well after midnight.

Naomi Osaka is enjoying the "nostalgic" experience of working with her father again after she continued her winning streak at the China Open.

The Australian Open champion parted company with coach Jermaine Jenkins after the US Open and has since been under the guidance of father Leonard Francois.

She has yet to lose a set following her fourth-round exit at Flushing Meadows, winning the Pan Pacific Open in her hometown of Osaka.

The 21-year-old eased into the last 16 of the China Open with a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over Andrea Petkovic on Tuesday.

Asked about linking up with her father in a professional capacity again, Osaka said: "It feels like it took me back a little bit because he's always been around, but he's been in the shadows for the most part.

"I would say he is a person that knows my game the most.

"He's the person that knows the trigger words, whether good or bad. Definitely it's been very nostalgic.

"I think we're getting along good."

Pressed on what her trigger words are, Osaka replied: "He likes saying, 'It's not rocket science', which is triggering."

Osaka will face Alison Riske in the third round in Beijing.

World number one Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of the China Open with a straight-sets win over Yulia Putintseva.

Barty completed a 6-4 6-2 triumph in an hour and 15 minutes, but was not overly enamoured with a performance featuring 23 winners and seven aces.

"It was solid without being fantastic," the Australian said afterwards. "It was what we needed to do. 

"There were times where it was pretty good and there were times where it was challenging. Pretty happy with how we were able to get on a roll in the second set a little bit there."

Barty came from a set down to defeat Putintseva in Madrid this year but there were no such heroics required of the French Open champion this time around.

Next up, she faces Saisai Zheng, who thrilled the home crowd and stunned 13th seed Sloane Stephens with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Osaka and Wozniacki dish out punishment

Naomi Osaka continued her dominant recent form as she dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-0 inside an hour.

Fresh from victory on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open, Japan's reigning Australian Open champion hit 21 winners to 11 unforced errors en route to a sixth successive win and claimed a phenomenal 91 per cent of points on her first serve.

Defending Caroline Wozniacki was in a similarly uncompromising mood as she saw off Christina McHale 6-4 6-0.

Wozniacki flew out of the blocks, winning five of the first seven games, only for McHale to check her progress by converting a fourth break point of the opener.

The former world number one responded emphatically, however, and McHale did not win another game.

More Kvitova misery for Mladenovic, Kenin and Riske fly the flag for the US

Petra Kvitova will face fellow seed and Venus Williams' conqueror Belinda Bencic after continuing her relentless record against Kristina Mladenovic.

Kvitova prevailed 6-4 6-4, taking her overall record against Mladenovic to 9-1, including three straight-sets victories this year.

"Against Kiki, I always have to play well because she can really play well, and she showed it in this match," Kvitova said. "I'm glad that I served pretty well and that it was a big weapon." 

Despite the punishing losses for McHale and Stephens, 15th seed Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske claimed some success for the United States contingent.

Riske was forced into a decider by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and came through 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Despite dropping serve with victory in sight at 5-3 in the third, Riske eventually saw off Tomljanovic in the next game – converting an eighth match point.

Kenin dropped her first two service games but regrouped to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2 and faces third seed Elina Svitolina in round three.

Two seeds going no further are Angelique Kerber and last week's Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka, who went down in straight sets to Polona Hercog and Daria Kasatkina respectively.

Bianca Andreescu's first match since her US Open triumph went to plan despite a brief wobble against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Monday.

The Canadian secured a 14th straight win on the WTA Tour as she defeated Sasnovich 6-2 2-6 6-1 at the China Open.

Andreescu proved her mental strength time and again en route to her maiden grand slam success and was required to do more of the same in Beijing, seeing a straightforward opener give way to a gruelling second set.

The fifth seed recovered her composure and raced to victory in the third, setting up a clash with Elise Mertens, who gave her a real test in the Flushing Meadows quarter-finals.

"I felt like in the second set I was too tense. But she was playing really well," Andreescu said. "I think I was just getting down on myself too much.

"I think I play my best tennis when I'm a little bit more relaxed. In the third set I just wanted to stay as positive as I could and just stay relaxed, to continue going for my shots."

Mertens eased past Petra Martic 6-3 6-3 to book that match-up, but there were surprises elsewhere.


HALEP HOPES ENDED

It was announced on Monday that Andreescu and Simona Halep had secured their places in the WTA Finals.

But where Andreescu celebrated with a win to start the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the year, Halep – still troubled by a back issue – came unstuck, the sixth seed beaten 6-2 6-3 by Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Alexandrova reflected: "It was a pretty tough match, but I think she didn't play that well.

"I remember when we played last time in Cincinnati, it was tougher. But I tried to stay focused for the whole match because I knew she could play just amazing."

Jelena Ostapenko upset Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, but her run was also ended as she fell 6-2 6-1 to Katerina Siniakova.


WOZNIACKI WINS OPENER

Caroline Wozniacki has endured a tough 2019, but she marked her return to Beijing with a dominant defeat of Lauren Davis.

The Dane has won the China Open twice - including 12 months ago at the end of an outstanding season - and began her latest bid by beating Davis 6-1 6-3.

Kiki Bertens was another seed to avoid an upset, overcoming teenager Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

"It was tough," Bertens said. "I hadn't played her before but, of course, she hits the ball so hard, so you never really know what you're going to get."

Elina Svitolina battled back impressively in both sets against Wang Yafan to progress courtesy of a pair of tie-breaks.


BENCIC BATTLES BACK

Venus Williams saw her campaign ended by US Open semi-finalist Belinda Bencic.

The 39-year-old took the opener but went down 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the final match of the day.

Madison Keys defeated Karolina Muchova to set up an all-American meeting with Jennifer Brady, who beat 18-year-old compatriot and French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova

Sofia Kenin is set to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who sunk fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-0 3-6 7-6 (7-4).

Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina eased their way into the second round of the China Open, though Venus Williams had to battle to secure her place.

Fresh from her victory in the Pan Pacific Open, Osaka overcame Jessica Pegula 6-3 7-6 (7-5), while Wimbledon champion Halep made light work of Rebecca Peterson.

Third seed Svitolina found matters slightly more taxing against Anastasija Sevastova, coming from a set down to win 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-2.

Angelique Kerber, too, needed three sets to get the better of Chinese number two Zheng Shuai, though it was former world number one Williams who had the toughest test.

The 39-year-old was 5-3 down to Barbora Strycova in the final set, but clawed her way back to triumph 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Williams' compatriot Sloane Stephens also made it through, while one of China's main hopes - world number 16 Wang Qiang - retired hurt against Ajla Tomljanovic.

FAVOURITES PILE THROUGH

Having seen second seed Karolina Pliskova dumped out by wildcard Jelana Ostapenko on Saturday, Osaka, Halep and Svitolina took no chances in their respective matches.

Two-time grand slam winner Osaka failed to really press home her advantage in the second set against Pegula, though two errors on the bounce from the American handed the former world number one the win.

"I just felt like this match, I was kind of living in the moment every point. I wasn't really thinking too much in the future, too much in the past," said Osaka.

Halep - who had to withdraw from the Wuhan Open with a back injury - found life much easier against Peterson, though Svitolina did have to come from behind to get past Sevastova and set up a round-two tie with Wang Yafan.

WILLIAMS BATTLES BACK FROM THE BRINK

It looked as though Venus Williams would be heading home early when Wimbledon semi-finalist Strycova took a 5-3 lead in the third set, after the Czech had come from behind in their encounter.

Williams had started strongly but faded in the second set, with Strycova winning five straight games to claim it 6-4.

A Williams break looked set to have handed the veteran the edge, but Strycova fought back with a three-game winning streak.

However, despite twice going within two points of victory, Strycova failed to capitalise, Williams clinching a hard-fought win with her second match point. Belinda Bencic awaits in round two.


FORMER CHAMPIONS FALL

Dayana Yastremska stormed into the second round, taking just 55 minutes to beat 2017 Beijing champion Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-1.

Another former winner - Svetlana Kuznetsova - also fell at the first hurdle, with Christina McHale triumphing 6-0 1-6 6-3.

With Garcia and Kuznetsova out and Garbine Muguruza having been defeated by Sofia Kenin on Saturday, only defending champion Caroline Wozniacki - who faces Lauren Davis on Monday - remains of the four previous winners to have featured in the main draw this time around.

World number one Ashleigh Barty is optimistic a calf injury that hindered her at the Wuhan Open will not be a problem going forward as she prepares for her second-round match at the China Open.

Barty lost in the last four of the Premier 5 tournament to Aryna Sabalenka, who went on to defend her title, and required treatment on her left calf.

The French Open champion has a bye through the first round in Beijing but has not yet taken to the practice court.

However, with the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the season this week and the WTA Finals a month away, Barty is positive about her fitness.

"I haven't been on court yet since my match in Wuhan," she told reporters. "Everything is moving better than expected, so it's good.

"It's just about making sure we do the right things and give it a chance to be ready to go."

Explaining the problem on Friday, Barty had said: "I felt like I had to protect it a little bit. It's important at this time of the year to listen to your body.

"There were certain things I wasn't able to do." 

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