Wuhan champion Aryna Sabalenka opens her campaign at the Tianjin Open, while Timea Bacsinszky and Misaki Doi look to bounce back from slumps as first-round action continues.
Alex Macpherson
October 8, 2018

MATCH POINTS

The top two 1998-born players, Aryna Sabalenka and Sofia Kenin, face off for the second time in three weeks today. The Belarusian, runner-up to Maria Sharapova here in Tianjin last year, triumphed 6-3, 6-3 in the third round of Wuhan en route to the title.

Former World No.30 Misaki Doi's ranking fell as low as No.328 in June after an extended slump during which the Japanese player was unable to string wins together even at ITF $25,000 level. However, she has bounced back in the second half of this year, with a title run at the ITF $100,000 event in Vancouver propelling her back to No.154 - but the 27-year-old is still looking for her first WTA main draw win since Nurnberg in May 2017. Doi is 0-1 against her opponent today, Yulia Putintseva, having previously lost 6-2, 7-6(4) in Dubai qualifying in 2014.

No.7 seed Danielle Collins faces Timea Bacsinszky for the second week in a row today, with the American having taken their Beijing first-round tie 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Bacsinszky's ranking sunk to No.761 in July after the Swiss player failed to win a match at any level for 14 months - half of which, between July 2017 and February 2018, was spent sidelined due to a right leg injury. The 29-year-old finally regained some form in the past month on the ITF Pro Circuit, reaching the Biarritz final followed by a quarterfinal showing in Saint-Malo, and is back up to her current No.329.

Kateryna Kozlova is yet to drop a set to qualifier Barbora Krejcikova in two previous meetings, in Hobart and Limoges in 2015. The Czech player is bidding for her first WTA main draw victory since her quarterfinal run in Bastad last year.

ORDER OF PLAY (all courts start 11.30am)

CENTER COURT
ZHU Lin (CHN) vs Elise MERTENS (BEL) [3]
[Q] XUN Fang Ying (CHN) vs Caroline GARCIA (FRA) [2]
Aryna SABALENKA (BLR) [4] vs Sofia KENIN (USA)

COURT 1
Timea BACSINSZKY (SUI) vs Danielle COLLINS (USA) [7]
[Q] Jana CEPELOVA (SVK) vs WANG Yafan (CHN)
[Q] ZHANG Yuxuan (CHN) vs Irina-Camelia BEGU (ROU)

COURT 2
Yulia PUTINTSEVA (KAZ) vs [Q] Misaki DOI (JPN)
Kateryna KOZLOVA (UKR) vs [Q] Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE)
Katie BOULTER (GBR) vs Maria SAKKARI (GRE) [8]

COURT 3
Sabrina SANTAMARIA (USA) / Yana SIZIKOVA (RUS) vs HAN Xinyun (CHN) / Darija JURAK (CRO)
Evgeniya RODINA (RUS) / Ajla TOMLJANOVIC (AUS) vs Nicole MELICHAR (USA) / Kveta PESCHKE (CZE) [3]
Kaitlyn CHRISTIAN (USA) / Desirae KRAWCZYK (USA) [4] vs Lara ARRUABARRENA (ESP) / Timea BACSINSZKY (SUI)
Monique ADAMCZAK (AUS) / Jessica MOORE (AUS) vs DUAN Yingying (CHN) / WANG Yafan (CHN)