Petra Kvitova was a surprise early casualty at the Tianjin Open on Wednesday as the tournament finally got underway after two days of persistent rain. Play on Monday and Tuesday was washed out in China meaning a hectic schedule on day three, and Kvitova’s 6-4 5-7 6-4 exit at the hands of Lin Zhu was the biggest shock. Since her US Open quarter-final appearance, Kvitova has endured mixed fortunes on tour with her latest exit a second in the first round in three tournaments – the first having come in Wuhan.
Having reached the last four in Beijing the Czech had been expected to ease past her opponent – Zhu ranked 96 places below her. She quickly realised it would not be so simple, though, as the 23-year-old took the first set thanks to a late flourish.
A topsy-turvy second set went the way of Kvitova, but a capitulation early in the decider in which Zhu raced into a 5-1 lead ultimately proved her undoing. Kvitova was not the only seed to fall early with 2016 runner-up Alison Riske, Donna Vekic, Lesia Tsurenko and Irina-Camelia Begu also losing – the latter beaten 6-4 6-2 by five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova.
After her sensational run to the Wuhan semis, Maria Sakkari continued to impress with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over Fangzhou Liu, the Greek sixth seed setting up a meeting with Christina McHale in round two.
All 16 first-round matches were completed on Wednesday as the rain stayed away, with the remaining seeds Shuai Peng and Yulia Putintseva coming through, but 2015 runner-up Danka Kovinic is out after defeat to Xiyu Wang. —AFP