ANNING, China – No.1 seed Zhang Shuai progressed to the second round of the Kunming Open but was initially given a scare by Elitsa Kostova before winning, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The Chinese player, who is a wildcard for the event, struggled on serve in an opening set that saw seven breaks.
Kostova’s quicker start to the match allowed her to take a decisive advantage in the opener, clinging on to take the first against a player ranked more than 200 spots better off than her after accelerating into a 3-0 lead.
Once WTA World No.42 Zhang got into her stride, though, there was no stopping her. She reeled off four successive games at the start of the second set to strike back and was similarly dominant in the decider, claiming the first five games before the Bulgarian was able to get on the scoreboard.
After her sluggish start, she raced through the third in just 33 minutes.
Compatriot Xun Fangying is next up after she also came through a three-set battle. Andreea Rosca was her victim in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory.
In the day’s other match that went the distance, there was American success as Ashley Kratzer overcame Han Xinyun, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.
She will face qualifier Kaylah Mcphee in the last 16 as the Australian benefited from the withdrawal of No.8 seed Sabina Sharipova less than an hour into their encounter. The 21-year-old was leading by a set and a break when the handshake came.
Meanwhile, No.7 seed Danielle Lao made comfortable progress with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Duan Yingying, while qualifier Miharu Imanishi shocked Olga Doroshina, 6-2, 6-2.