Sabalenka dominates Kenin in China Open return, Kalinina stages comeback victory
Posted : 01 October 2023
Following her world No. 1 ranking achievement after the US Open, Aryna Sabalenka returned to action in China and delivered a dominant performance against Sofia Kenin, winning in straight sets. This marked Sabalenka's first match since her US Open final appearance, where she lost to Coco Gauff.
Despite that loss, Sabalenka's world No. 1 status remained intact. Her victory over Kenin served as sweet revenge, as she had previously suffered a defeat to Kenin at the Rome Masters earlier in the season. Sabalenka's next challenge will be the winner of the match between Katie Boulter and Magdalena Frech in the second round.
Kenin had been in good form recently, making it to the final in San Diego and the semi-finals in Guadalajara. However, Sabalenka displayed her trademark dominance during the match, hitting 22 winners while committing only nine unforced errors.
In contrast, Kenin managed just seven winners throughout the encounter. Sabalenka's serving was particularly impressive, as she did not face a single break point throughout the match.
Sabalenka expressed her surprise at her exceptional serving performance, given that it hadn't been as strong in practice. She attributed her success to her ability to elevate her serving level during the match. She believed that her strong serving game caught Kenin off guard and was a key factor in her victory.
In another first-round match at the China Open, world No. 28 Anhelina Kalinina staged a comeback win against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, with a final score of 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Vondrousova had a strong start, taking the first set convincingly but failed to capitalize on a break point in the second set. Kalinina seized her opportunity, breaking Vondrousova to go 4-3 up, and then went on to win the match comfortably.
Kalinina's next opponent in the second round will be Daria Saville. Additionally, world No. 10 Barbora Krejcikova was set to face Mirra Andreeva, and Jelena Ostapenko secured a comeback victory against Eva Lys, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in their first-round match.