World No.31 Daria Kasatkina advanced to the third round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a commanding 6-2 6-1 victory over second seed Simona Halep.
Halep’s alarmingly weak scoreline is mostly due to her horrible conversion of points on second serve, as the Romanian won just 11%, i.e. two of 18 points. Kasatkina played almost an error-free match, while Halep won none of her four service games in the first set. It was only in the beginning of the second set that Halep managed to hold her serve, but that early resurgence was all the pressure imposed on Kasatkina’s brilliance.
Tomorrow Halep celebrates her 26th birthday, but she’ll not be in the best mood, as this loss came in her first match since falling to Maria Sharapova in the opening round of the US Open.
Third seed Karolina Pliskova moved into the third round with a tense 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over Zhang Shuai, who came to Wuhan on the wings of her second WTA title claimed at the Guangzhou Open over the weekend. Pliskova is now 6-0 against Zhang, but the Chinese knows how to challenge the Czech and today was another high-quality battle as both players recorded more winners than unforced errors, while Pliskova hit nine aces, making the 2017 season her fourth straight with more than 400 aces.