Ana Konjuh breezed into the second round as favorites tumbled at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
WTA Staff

DUBAI, UAE - Ana Konjuh breezed into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after routing China's Zhang Shuai 6-0, 6-1.

The score was a surprise given Zhang's impressive run in Doha last week when she beat Garbiñe Muguruza en route to the quarterfinals.

But she found her Croatian opponent on devastating form, producing a display of awesome power hitting to seal a second-round meeting with Australia's Sam Stosur.

"The last two years I played quallies, so I'm really happy to be in the main draw this year and to keep my game like that," said Konjuh. "Hopefully I'm going to continue."

A Chinese player who fared much better was Peng Shuai, who comfortably defeated Leisa Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1 to set up a second-round clash with Barbora Strycova. Surprises continued on Court 1 with Catherine Bellis eliminating 17th seed Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 7-5. Meanwhile, qualifier Elise Mertens upset Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-2 on Court 3.

Bellis, ranked 70th in the world, found herself 5-1 down in the second set before reeling off an incredible six games on the trot to seal a remarkable victory.

"I got myself in a bit of trouble in the second set, but I'm glad I got out of it. I just thought to myself, stick to my game plan, just keep steady, I can come back," said Bellis afterwards. "I can come back against anyone I set my mind to. I'm really glad I got through it. in the beginning of the second, I think I won the first game. The second game was really long.

"So I just kept thinking to myself, I'm still in this match, obviously even when I was losing, still in this match, and I'm playing well, so I can come back whenever I want and whenever, you know, I get a good rhythm. So once I went down, I just stayed calm and stuck to my game plan and came back."

Elsewhere, Kateryna Bondarenko survived an opening-set blip to come through 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Misaki Doi claimed a notable win against Madison Brengle, the Japanese beating the American in three tight sets.

Check out all the day's results here.