NANCHANG, China - Wildcard Lu Jia-Jing recovered from a nightmare start to upset former World No.5 Daniela Hantuchova in the opening round of the Jiangxi Open on Tuesday.
In her first match at a WTA event, Lu looked hopelessly out of her depth for the first 20 minutes, Hantuchova taking full advantage to rattle off five unanswered games. But as the match wore on, Lu found some rhythm and slowly began the task of turning the match around.
While it was too late to salvage the first set, Lu held her nerve to prevail in a tense conclusion to the second. With the extreme heat and humidity beginning to take its toll on both players, the decider was as much about fitness as finesse.
Ultimately it was Lu that held herself together best, breaking in Hantuchova's final two service games to close out a famous 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 victory.
"This win means a lot to me. It's great to have this opportunity to play such a top player as Hantuchova," Lu said. "This gives me confidence that I'm in the right path. I will focus on next match and make according plan for next opponent with my coach."
Meanwhile, it is back to the drawing board for Hantuchova, who has slipped to No.254 after winning just one of her 10 main draw matches in 2016.
"My backhand is not working as I would like it to. Normally I would say it's the better shot - just too many easy mistakes on that side today," Hantuchova said. "The balls do fly here quite a lot - it's not easy to control it - but I did not go for my shots as much as I should have.
"I don't know what's next. First I'm going home. I have asked for some wildcards in the United States. We will see as it's not up to me."
Elsewhere, there were mixed fortunes for the seeds in action. No.6 seed Vania King had few problems defeating Storm Sanders, 6-4, 6-2, and Francesca Schiavone, the No.3 seed, was equally comfortable seeing off wildcard Yang Zhaoxuan, 6-0, 6-4.
"The performance today was good - it's not easy to play in these conditions," Schiavone said. "In the first set I served very well, but in the second set she did less mistakes. It wasn't so easy but the most important thing is that I'm through this round and I'm enjoying my tennis."