(Reuters) – Sofia Kenin staved off a late comeback attempt by Chloe Paquet to defeat the Frenchwoman 6-2 7-5 and reach the second round of the inaugural Zhengzhou Open on Monday.
Sixth seed Kenin, seeking a third WTA title this year following triumphs in Hobart and Mallorca, rallied from a break down in the second set to close out the win after 83 minutes in sweltering conditions.
“Chloe is a tough player. I lost to her in Strasbourg, so I knew I needed to figure out a way to win,” Kenin, who next plays local hope Lu Jingjing or Alize Cornet, said.
“Conditions are really hot. I’m kind of used to it… but it’s not easy. I’m happy to have gotten through it.”
Eighth seed Caroline Garcia overcame a mid-match wobble to overcome Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova 6-4 4-6 7-5 while Petra Martic beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-1.
Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva battled past Tamara Zidansek 6-1 5-7 6-1 in a rematch of this year’s Nuremberg Cup final to move into the second round.
Three-times Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, who was beaten in the opening round of the U.S. Open, is among the main contenders in Zhengzhou having taken a wildcard to compete in the first Premier event of the Asian swing.
Former world number one Karolina Pliskova is the top seed at the tournament ahead of Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)