Sara Errani looked unstoppable early on but ended up having to claw her way out of a third set hole to beat Zheng Saisai in the first round of the Shenzhen Open. Klara Zakopalova also moved through.
WTA Staff

SHENZHEN, China - Sara Errani was nearly bounced out of the Shenzhen Open in her opening match on Monday, but in the end she was just too tough and managed to scrape past Zheng Saisai.

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It didn't look like much of a match at all early on, strangely enough - Errani raced through the first set at love - but from 3-all in the second set Zheng caught fire, winning five games in a row to take the set and go up 2-0 in the third. She also led 4-2 and served for the match at 6-5, but the No.2-seeded Errani came clawing back every time, and she eventually edged the Chinese wildcard, 60 36 76(3).

"She played an unbelievable match," Errani said of Zheng. "Maybe I didn't play my best today, but for sure she played really well from the second set. I'm pretty tired, but I'm happy I don't play tomorrow!"

Errani is playing the Shenzhen Open for the first time and seems very happy with her decision to come.

"It's my first time here and I think it's a really good tournament to start the year at," she added.

She isn't the only seed with a good feeling already - No.3 seed Klara Zakopalova, No.7 seed Zheng Jie and No.8 seed Annika Beck also scored first round wins on Monday, with Zheng probably putting together the most impressive performance, defeating former World No.11 Shahar Peer, 60 63.

"I got a little conservative in the second set - this was my first match back after off-season training, and I really wanted to get the win - but my opponent also came alive in the second set," Zheng said.

"I'm so glad China can host such a fantastic tournament here in Shenzhen," the former World No.15 added. "I hope I can have an even better performance here to thank them for all of their support."

Zakopalova, a runner-up to Li Na here last year, won a tight two-setter against Donna Vekic, 63 75.

"I just enjoy every match here," the big-hitting Czech commented. "I was really looking forward to coming back this year. The people are nice, the tournament is great, and I just want to do my best."

The only upset saw German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam beat No.4 seed Bojana Jovanovski, 61 75.

Vania King, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Jana Cepelova, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner and Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic rounded out the first round winners on Day 2 of the International-level tournament.