Here we go, we have finally landed on dragons’ land for the last part of this 2015 tennis year, in which our Sara Errani will make 3 stops in Guangzhou, Wuhan and Beijing. Odds are great and our champion is eager to gain the points she is still missing in order to qualify for the WTA Elite Trophy of Zhuhai.
We are off to this Canton tournament, an outdoor hardcourt competition launched in 2004 in the Olympic Centre; the last italian exploit dates back in 2009 when Alberta Brianti lost a singles final. Sarita competes within the main draw as the n.3 seed and will play – you already guessed it – a Chinese opponent in her first round match: Ying-Ying Duan, n.121 of the rankings, stepped under the limelight for the first time early this year thanks to her performance in Wimbledon, where she reached 2R coming off qualifications. Duan is one typical Chinese-schooled player who likes fast breaks and 1-2 rallies.
Technically it was not supposed to be a tough match, on the other hand it was the condition that made it much more difficult: China is currently undergoing rain season, therefore the level of humidity generally stands on 80%, which put players under a prohibitive setting. Sarita stepped into the Centre Court at 10am local time aiming to get back as soon as possible, and that is exactly what the scoreboard showed after a few minutes (4-1 up). The Chinese player tried to out herself back on track with a break but Errani immediately stopped her closing the first set right after a long clash during the 9th game.
But even though she took a toilet break during the break, our Sara had to pay a high price for the previous effort and Duan took full advantage of it, levelling the match with a mirror 3-6. Final set is decided by serve breaks: both put their left energies within the first 4 games to take down the other, but of course it has been our warrior to pull it off and finish it with a double break to win her first round at Guangzhou Open. Final score: 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Up next, Sara will be back on Centre Court tomorrow at 2pm local time against another Mandarin player, the n.206 of the WTA Kai-Lin Zhang, who reached the second round today over Jabeur in 2 sets (6-3, 6-3).