NANCHANG, China – No.3 seed Magda Linette was made to fight before progressing to the second round of the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang as she defeated qualifier Giuliana Olmos, 6-3, 6-2.
The WTA World No.53 served nine aces and four double faults on the way to a victory that took her 79 minutes to complete.
“I started pretty well but then I lost concentration and she raised her level, was a bit more consistent,” Linette admitted. “I became more aggressive and took control of the match more and I’m glad I could take the first set.
“In the second, I knew I just needed to serve well. I was struggling with my serve, the percentage was not as high as I would have wished. I hope in the next match, I’m a bit better.”
Although the Pole had a mixed bag on serve, her return game was on point throughout the match and she laid down an early marker by breaking to 15 immediately. Indeed, she would move 4-0 up with another such game.
Olmos replied superbly, winning 12 of the next 14 points to move within a game, having eradicated the double break, though her higher-ranked opponent was able to lift her level in time to seal the opening set.
Shaken into action by the Mexican’s performance in the middle part of the opener, the Bronx champion set about establishing another double-break advantage in the second as she moved 3-0 clear.
Again she proved vulnerable on serve as her opponent got one of the breaks back, but her return game remained in the zone as she broke for a sixth time and then held serve twice to complete the win in steamy conditions that she said were an improvement on last year, when the tournament was held at the height of summer.
“It’s much better than playing in July!” she said. “It’s still pretty hot but it’s bearable. Last year, it was extreme heat. Now, it’s hot but much more pleasant for your body and I’m glad we’re starting at 3pm when the sun is starting to go down a little bit.”
She will face Liu Fangzhou in round two, with the WTA World No.250 having won a marathon encounter with Anna Danilina, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in a match that stretched over two hours.
The Chinese proved the more consistent of the pair, facing down two match points at the climax of the deciding set before ultimately prevailing.
Elsewhere in the draw, Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson made rapid progress, spending only an hour on court as she dismantled wildcard Xun Fangying, 6-0, 6-3.
The No.5 seed lost only six points in the opening set, and while the second was more competitive, an early break in favor of Peterson meant that she never trailed before sealing the win with a love service game.
There was also serene progress for No.6 seed Viktorija Golubic, who was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Adina Cristian.
In a match that saw 10 breaks of serve, the Swiss never trailed in either set but will want to tidy up the six double faults she served as she won only 39% of points on her second delivery.
Lara Arruabarrena lies in wait, with the Spaniard having led Monica Niculescu, 1-6, 6-3, 4-1 before her opponent was forced to retire due to injury after one hour and 42 minutes of play.
There was to be no shock in the encounter between No.7 seed Kateryna Kozlova and qualifier Greta Arn, with the WTA World No.76 winning, 6-2, 6-1, in 77 minutes. Arn was competitive but lost a succession of tight games in what proved a one-sided defeat.
Kozlova will face Dalila Jakupovic, who eased past Italian veteran Sara Errani, 6-1, 6-1, in just 54 minutes.