Favorites Paula Badosa, and Caroline Garcia were expelled at Pan Pacific; third-seeded Garbine Muguruza progresses
Favorite Paula Badosa, second seed Caroline Garcia and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina were taken out of the Pan Pacific Open on Wednesday.
Badosa was overpowered by Qinwen Zheng, the 19-year-old quick improver from China, 6-3, 6-2. Qinwen won 10 of the last 12 games, playing bravely on Badosa’s break her four times.
“It’s not a surprise. I always knew I had the level, I just had to make it,” Qinwen said after her first top-10 win.
Qinwen’s third quarterfinal of the year will be against Claire Liu, who beat Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1.
Garcia was disturbed in the second round by another Chinese player, Zhang Shuai, who won 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in 2½ hours.
Garcia broke Zhang in the opening game and won the set with her tenth ace. In any case, regardless of serving 27 aces – – beating Qinwen’s mark of 21 in a match for best on tour this year – – Garcia couldn’t hold her form and Zhang used her speed and accuracy to require the second set.
Zhang said her numerous years of playing and training in Japan paid off.
“I was trying to stay calm. I told myself in the tough moments how I never lose on this court so today I will win,” she said. “This is my home tournament, so that gave me a lot of motivation. Everything is positive here, and that’s why I played really well.”
Rybakina was coming off losing a three-set final in Slovenia last weekend and battled to find any beat against an in-form Liudmila Samsonova, who won their competition opener 6-2, 6-4.
Samsonova won two competitions in August and arrived at the fourth round of the US Open, and she was smoothly effective in Tokyo.
“I’m incredibly happy about this match,” she said. “It’s always tough to play Elena. She’s a big champion now, so I was prepared for a big fight. Last month was very positive for me. Winning a tournament I have more confidence, but I have to stay focused.”
She faces China’s Xinyu Wang in the second round.
Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza stayed away from the surprises after a first-round bye by cruising past Greek qualifier Despina Papamichail 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.