Konta’s slump continues
Johanna Konta's woes continue as she slipped to a fifth consecutive defeat at the China Open
The British No.1 reached the final in Beijing 12 months ago but she suffered a heavy defeat at the first hurdle this time. Monica Niculescu dropped just three games as she took out the No.6 seed in a one-sided contest that lasted 64 minutes.
It was an error-strewn display from Konta and her lack of confidence was evident from the outset. The 26-year-old struggled to keep the ball within the confines of the court and she still has work to do in her attempt to qualify for the WTA season-finale in Singapore later this month.
There were no such troubles Elina Svitolina in China's capital. The No.3 seed eased to a 6-3 6-2 success over Lin Zhu in her first outing since the US Open.
Former world No.1, Karolina Pliskova, commenced her campaign with a smooth 6-3 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro and she was pleased with her performance.
"The key was that I wanted to be aggressive, so she [Navarro} didn’t have time to play her game," remarked the Czech. "We played a few times already and it was always kind of tough, but today was the easiest match I’ve played against her."
Caroline Wozniacki, the most recent player to secure her berth at the WTA finals, was pushed by Qiang Wang but emerged a 6-1 6-7(4) 6-1 winner after nearly two hours of play.
Agnieszka Radwanska has endured a season to forget but she racked up her 21st victory of the campaign by overcoming Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-3. Qualifier, Lara Arruabarrena, dented Svetlana Kuznestova’s Singapore hopes by taking out the veteran Russian in three sets.
There were also first round victories for Julia Goerges, Alize Cornet, Sam Stosur, Ekaterina Makarova, Andrea Petkovic, Magdalena Rybarikova and Shuai Zhang.