Rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen notched her first tour-level victory on home soil with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of qualifier Kateryna Volodko in the first round of the Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open.
Zheng, 21, was the gold medallist at the Asian Games in Hangzhou two weeks ago, but lost her debut WTA match in China to Elena Rybakina in Beijing last week. But the US Open quarterfinalist was in dominant form as she advanced past No.267-ranked Volodko in 1 hour and 24 minutes.
The serve and forehand were the bedrocks of Zheng's win. She slammed 11 aces and conceded just one point behind her first serve, and took her winner total to 23 thanks to a series of ferocious down-the-line winners. Former World No.29 Volodko was unable to keep up with Zheng's pace, and the 37-year-old Ukrainian was sunk by 23 unforced errors -- including six double faults -- to only three winners.
Zheng will next face No.3 seed Maria Sakkari for the third time. She has yet to beat the Greek player, though their first-round encounter in Doha this February was notable for Zheng pulling off one of the shots of the year with a scorching tweener pass.
"Right now, my body is in good shape to play against her," said Zheng after defeating Volodko. "Last time, I wasn't 100%. So I wish I can give my best in the next match, and let's see what happens."
Highlights: Tsurenko d. Shnaider
Elsewhere, Lucia Bronzetti overcame a series of powerfully-struck winners from 25-year-old wild card Guo Hanyu to win 7-5, 6-1, setting up a second-round tilt against No.4 seed Ons Jabeur. Fellow Italian Jasmine Paolini also advanced, defeating lucky loser Moyuka Uchijima 6-2, 6-3, and will next face No.6 seed Caroline Garcia.
No.10 seed Donna Vekic and Lesia Tsurenko will also meet in the second round after posting identical 6-4, 6-2 scorelines over Nao Hibino and Diana Shnaider respectively.