Hong Kong Tennis Open results: birthday girl Garbine Muguruza starts the party as Wang Qiang continues hot streak
Two-time grand slam champion celebrates turning 25 with dominant win at Victoria Park, while China’s Wang Qiang and Zhang Shuai also progress
She may have been celebrating her 25th birthday the night before, but Garbine Muguruza was all business on Tuesday at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, dispatching fellow Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-1.
“I mean, it was a very simple celebration, we went to dinner with the team, and honestly competing the next day is very hard to think about something else,” the former world No 1 said.
“So I’m sure I’ll have more time after here to do something more fun.”
The two-time grand slam champion will surely feel she still has plenty of hard work ahead of her at Victoria Park before she can properly celebrate.
“So far I’m happy to be here, I’ve been training quite a lot of days,” Muguruza said. “I came early to Hong Kong [on Friday].
“It’s not easy to play a Spanish player because I know her, but I’m happy I’m in the second round. So far I’m doing good.
“I was very happy to play at night because in the day it’s very humid and hot. I like it. It was a good crowd, the court is nice.”
After the late withdrawal of US Open champion Naomi Osaka, Muguruza will be one of the favourites this week.
China No 1 Wang Qiang will feel the same way about her chances, after breezing past Hong Kong No 1 Zhang Ling 6-0, 6-2 earlier on Centre Court to continue her recent good form.
Wang has reached a career-high ranking of 24 in the world, after an Asian Games gold medal and two titles in Jiangxi and Guangzhou. The 26-year-old also reached the semi-finals at Wuhan and the China Open in Beijing.
“I think I had a good performance over the last few weeks,” Wang said. “So I just take that into this match. I just try to play my tennis, play aggressive.”
No 1 seed Elina Svitolina later moved past Australia’s Priscilla Hon 6-2, 6-3 in the final match on Centre Court. “Happy that I finished in two sets. It’s been a tough match in the end,” she said. “Of course there is pressure as the top seed, but I’ve been in this situation many times. It’s just important to show my best, that’s why I’m here.”
Zhang Shuai, China’s No 2, also made it through with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win against Sabina Sharipova on Court One, where Daria Gavrilova earlier came from a set down to battle past Zarina Diyas 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“I got a bit fired up about a few calls in the beginning of the first set,” said seventh seed Gavrilova, who received a time violation from the chair umpire.
“There is a rule you can’t go over 25 seconds so she was right, but my argument was that I wasn’t the one being slow – that the little ball kids, they get distracted. They’re only young, that was my point.
“At the end I was like, ‘OK, I’m just gonna cop it, have the warning and then move on’. It doesn’t change the game, I’m not getting penalised, it’s just a warning.”
Things are usually eventful for Gavrilova in Hong Kong – last year, she reached the final only for Typhoon Khanun to stop her and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from getting on court until 9.20pm. They did not finish until past 1am, with more rain delays halting play.
“Fortunately there was a typhoon recently, two weeks ago,” Gavrilova said, laughing. “I think also the weather has changed completely, it’s not as hot as last year, it’s a lot easier to play. It’s nicer, but I actually like the humidity. I feel like I’m working a lot harder.”
There was a shock on Court One with former US Open champion Samantha Stosur turfed out 6-3, 6-3 by Japanese 23-year-old Nao Hibino.
On Centre Court, American Christina McHale saw off Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1, while on Court Two, Lesley Kerkhove beat Bibiane Schoofs 6-4, 6-0 in an all-Dutch battle before Romania’s Monica Niculescu defeated Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Niculescu’s compatriot Ana Bogdan then beat American Caroline Dolehide 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-5, saving three match points on Court Two.