TIANJIN, China – No.3 seed Dayana Yastremska overcame the disappointment of a loss in the doubles final of the China Open to produce an accomplished performance and move into the second round of the Tianjin Open with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Zhu Lin in 67 minutes.
After reaching the quarterfinals in Wuhan and second round in Beijing, the 19-year-old was clearly eager to make swift progress in Tianjin but life was made difficult for her by an opponent who has two Top 25 wins to her credit in her career.
Yastremska, who narrowly missed out on the Beijing doubles title along with partner Jelena Ostapenko, had the quality of hitting and movement, though, to record a fifth-straight victory over a Chinese player on hard courts, taking her overall career record against players from the country to 5-2.
“When I arrived here, I was a bit sad I lost the doubles,” she admitted. “I was a bit empty inside and felt like I didn’t have much energy. But the day after, I had a good practise, and I tried to set my mind for a good tournament here.
“I won in Hong Kong this week last year. I really wanted to go there and defend the trophy, so I felt like I had to defend the trophy here. That gave me the energy I needed.
“I didn’t really put any pressure on myself, I just wanted to play.”
Although the Ukrainian was able to establish a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the match, it was a far less straightforward path to this point than the scoreline would suggest. Each game reached deuce and was decided by small margins.
Zhu finally got on the board but the WTA World No.23 had hit a better groove and pulled away to seal the first set with a second break, cracking a backhand down the line to seal the set.
— WTA (@WTA) October 8, 2019
The second began much in the fashion of the opener as Yastremska edged a tight game. She was made to scramble, though, producing a brilliant winner to rescue deuce then digging out the game from there.
The overall pattern of the match veered away dramatically from the first set after this juncture, however. Quick breaks were traded before a succession of simple service holds, marked by simple but effective tennis from both players.
That run halted in the eighth game, in which Yastremska fought back from a 30-0 deficit to secure the decisive break. Zhu was left to regret sending a dropshot into the net, a moment out of character given what she had earlier produced.
An ace from the Top 25 star to begin her subsequent service game set the tone for her to hold serve and book a meeting with another Chinese player, Peng Shuai, in round two.