Aryna Sabalenka bags win in first match as world No.1 in Beijing

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova lost to Anhelina Kalinina

By Web Desk
October 01, 2023
Sabalenka had climbed at the top spot after reaching the final of last month's US Open - REUTERS

In her debut match as the women's world No.1 at the China Open, Aryna Sabalenka displayed dominance as she defeated Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova suffered a setback, losing 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Anhelina Kalinina in Beijing.

Sabalenka, who climbed to the top spot in the rankings, surpassing Iga Swiatek after reaching the final of last month's US Open, made a triumphant return to the court in China. In her tournament opener on Sunday, she did not face a single break point and swiftly wrapped up the match in just 67 minutes, unleashing 22 winners in the process.

This victory provided a sense of redemption for the Belarusian Sabalenka, especially after her surprising defeat to the 2020 Australian Open champion in the second round of the Rome tournament in May.

"I'm super happy with the win, I think I played really great tennis today," Australian Open champion Sabalenka said.

"I didn't actually expect to play that good after how many weeks I didn't play tournaments. I think the way I served was the key in today's match."

The 25-year-old top seed, who kick started her career by winning four of her first five WTA titles in China before the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to face Britain's Katie Boulter in the next round, following Boulter's 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Magdalena Frech.

However, it was the end of the road for Czech world No.8 Vondrousova, who initially had a strong start in her first tour-level meeting with Rome runner-up Kalinina.

"Today was not really a good match from my side," Kalinina said. "I started very bad, honestly. It was too fast, 20 minutes 0-5 so I cannot say I was pleased.

"But I was just trying to get my rhythm back. It actually worked only at the end of the second set and then I was able to keep going."

Additionally, advancing to the next round was Jelena Ostapenko, who battled past qualifier Eva Lys 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. However, another former French Open champion, Barbora Krejcikova, experienced an early exit, losing 6-2, 6-2 to the 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.