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Duan Holds Off Diyas, Kerkhove Surprises Mertens In Kuala Lumpur

No.5 seed Duan Ying-Ying moved into the second round with a hard-fought victory over Zarina Diyas on day one at the Alya WTA Malaysian Open.

Published February 27, 2017 12:13

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - No.5 seed Duan Ying-Ying showed her ruthless side to see off the challenge of wildcard Zarina Diyas, 7-5, 6-3, in the first round of the Alya WTA Malaysian Open.

The Kazakh, playing her first tournament since Wimbledon 2016 after eight months out with an injury, made the early break in the first set to take a 4-2 lead but was unable to consolidate. Duan, the strong favourite, made hard work of winning the second break - eventually picking it up at the fourth attempt in the 11th game; however, those three missed break points would be the only ones she was unable to take in the entire match.

After a fairly conservative first set, Duan, the WTA World No.70, adopted a more aggressive game in the second set and broke in the third game. Diyas fought gamely and hit a handful of winners close to the net herself, but Duan made it four from seven break points at 5-3 to seal the win.

On Court 2, Sara Sorribes Tormo set up a second-round meeting with Duan thanks to a 6-3, 7-6(2) win over Sílvia Soler-Espinosa in an all-Spanish clash, while on Court 1, Japan's Nao Hibino came from a set down to beat Belgium's Maryna Zanevska 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

There were upsets in the second matches on Courts 1 and 2. The Dutch qualifier Lesley Kerkhove beat the highly-rated seventh seed, Elise Mertens, in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the former and, on the latter, the Australian WTA World No.158, Ashleigh Barty, beat the USA's Irina Falconi, ranked 60 places higher.

Back on Center, China's Zheng Saisai beat her compatriot Zhu Lin 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3.

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