NANCHANG, China - No.2 seed Peng Shuai braved the heat to open her Jiangxi Open account with a tough victory over Kurumi Nara, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
“I think the first match after the grass, switching to hardcourts, was tough,” Peng said after the match. “And it was also really hot in Nanchang. It didn’t make things easy.”
“It was a good challenge, it was a good fight. I know I played her before and she’s like, a very fighting player. I remember it was a long time ago, it was really hot in Australian Open and I lost to her. So today it was almost like the same weather.”
Peng and Nara traded breaks three times in the roller coaster opening set. Nara saved a Peng set point at 5-4, and was two points from forcing the tiebreak when Peng sealed the set with a flurry of groundstrokes.
The second set saw Nara turn around a 4-2 deficit after a string of loose errors from Peng. The Japanese player reeled off four games in a row to send the match into a decider. Nara refused to fade, breaking back twice to erase Peng’s leads time and again. But the Chinese finally broke two more times and wrapped up the match after nearly three hours on court.
“In the second set I was up 4-2, and with a few shots maybe I tried to rush to play,” Peng explained. “And she fight, and wins the second set. But that’s normal in the tennis, it happens. I hope next time I can be doing better, and to also handle this heat better.
“But I’m just happy to win the first round and head to the second round with some good rest so I can keep fighting.”
Also in action, No.4 seed Wang Qiang moved into the second round with a comfortable win over Harriet Dart, 6-4, 6-1. Qualifier Eri Hozumi came back from a set down and scored an upset over the No.7 seed Zheng Saisai, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Hsieh Su-Wei and Nao Hibino are also through, with Hsieh defeating Gao Xinyu, 6-3, 7-6(4), and Hibino knocking out Zhang Kai-Lin 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.