Monday’s first-round action at the $2,365,250 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open was an elimination field for both the tournament’s top seed Petra Kvitova and finalists at the recently-finished US Open, champion Sloane Stephens and runner-up Madison Keys.
In the opening match on Centre Court, after quickly dropping the first set to fellow American Varvara Lepchenkova, tenth seed Madison Keys improved in the second, but then wasted two set points and after saving a match point to force a tiebreak, the US Open runner-up was again in a big deficit of 1-5 in the tiebreak, eventually losing the match 6-2 7-6(4).
Keys may have to rethink her schedule for the remainder of the season, due to left wrist pain she felt during her match in Wuhan. It is the same wrist she had two surgeries on in the previous period, but Keys assures us that it’s nothing serious now, it’s just lack of strength due to the fact that she hasn’t had enough time to properly recover.
Playing her first tournament since the spectacular US Open run to the winner’s trophy, Sloane Stephens, seeded 14th, experienced a typical post-big-triumph hangover, falling to home player Wang Qiang 6-2 6-2 in the first round in China. Sloane found the Wuhan court fast and wasn’t able to move very well.
Also out is top seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova, who lost to world No.24 Peng Shuai for the first time in their eight meetings, and what a battle it was — they played three tiebreaks and the match turned out to be the longest tour-level match of the season at three hours and 34 minutes, 7-6(7) 6-7(5) 7-6(3).
Another notable Monday’s result is Caroline Garcia‘s first-round elimination of former world No.1 Angelique Kerber. The Frenchwoman straightforwardly lost the first set, but then pulled off a streak of seven won games in the remainder of the match, as the twelfth-seeded Kerber just avoided a bagel in the decider, 3-6 6-3 6-1.