Agnieszka Radwanska defused Ekaterina Makarova to end her Wuhan hoodoo and book a rematch with Caroline Wozniacki. Also on the charge was Venus Williams, who began her title defense with a straight-set win over Yulia Putintseva.
WTA Staff

WUHAN, China - No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska skilfully defused Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday to register her first win in three attempts at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

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Makarova's powerful game proved potent early on but was ultimately trumped by Radwanska's consistency and court craft. The Pole, who ended with just five unforced errors, won eight of the last nine games to close out a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

As the Russian pressed the action, Radwanska seemed content to soak up the pressure and bide her time before striking with typical elan. After snatching the first set with a break in the ninth game, Radwanska took complete control by breaking to love at the start of the second.

Over the past 24 months, Radwanska has been a serial winner in Asia, picking up silverware in Shenzhen, Tianjin, Tokyo and, famously, Singapore. Surprisingly, success in Wuhan has proven harder to come by. In fact her two visits have both ended at the first hurdle. "I just hope I can play some more great tennis in China and I hope I can win the next round," Radwanska said.

Her opponent there will be Caroline Wozniacki, who last week produced a stunning comeback against the Pole en route to the Tokyo title. "We always play good matches, so I'm not expecting it to be easy. We just played three hours in Tokyo so we could have another battle in front of us," Radwanska added.

While Makarova's challenge was coming to an end compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova, was safely making her way into the third round, dispatching Madison Brengle, 6-0, 6-4. Her reward is a clash against defending champion Venus Williams, an equally impressive 6-3, 6-2 victor over Yulia Putintseva.

Venus Williams

Victory in Wuhan was a highlight of a brilliant end to 2015 for Williams, culminating in a return to the Top 10. She has hung onto this status ever since and against Putintseva looked a class apart, breaking seven times on her return to Wuhan's Centre Court.

"I haven't played in three weeks. When you have a lot of experience, the first match, you never feel like guns ready to go as you might feel in the finals," Williams said. "At least you know what you're doing well, what you need to improve. You're ready to do it.

"I was really aggressive. So that was great. I still want to improve, but I felt like I got out there and it was straightforward. I want to just close those matches out like that."

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