Muguruza fights back to advance in Shenzhen

Former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza recovered from a slow start to avoid an upset by Chinese youngster Wang Xinyu at the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

Former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza recovered from a slow start to avoid an upset at the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

The 26-year-old Spaniard beat Chinese youngster Wang Xinyu 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 and plays the American Shelby Rogers in the second round in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.

The Shenzhen Open serves as build-up for the Australian Open at the end of the month.

It was the two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza's first match since an early exit at the China Open in late September.

"I think it was my first match in a long time and you cannot expect to play your best tennis," said Muguruza, now 35th in the world.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka made a fast start to her season, blowing away Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan in just 71 minutes.

The world No. 11 from Belarus eased to a 6-3, 6-0 victory as she looks to seal a place inside the top 10 for the Australian Open.

The 21-year-old will next play Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who beat Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-3.

"It was a tough match and really tough to start," said the powerful Sabalenka, who won three titles last year in China, including in Shenzhen.

"She's a great player and it was tough to play against her. She has strong strokes. I tried my best and I'm happy I finished with the win."

Gasparyan, 25, reached a career-high 41 in the world in February 2016 but has been beset by injuries.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam while Rogers beat compatriot Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Fourth seed and local hope Wang Qiang got the better of Tunisia's Ons Jabeur 6-0, 6-3 and seventh seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan beat China's Zheng Saisai 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.

Muguruza fights back to advance in Shenzhen

Samantha Stosur hits a return against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their first-round match at the Brisbane International in Brisbane, Australia, on Monday. The home favorite won 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

In Brisbane, Australia, American Danielle Collins thrashed fourth seed and former champion Elina Svitolina in the first round of the Brisbane International on Monday as Germany's Angelique Kerber also crashed out.

Svitolina, the world No. 5, went into the match as firm favorite but was never in the hunt against Collins, going down meekly 1-6, 1-6 in just 56 minutes.

Collins dominated every facet of the match against a disappointing Svitolina, who won this tournament in 2018.

The American served well and returned even better, winning 62 percent of the points off Svitolina's first serve and 61 percent off her second.

She joins two other US players in the second round following wins by Sophia Kenin and Alison Riske.

Kenin beat Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (1), 6-4 while Riske downed Czech Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2.

In a battle of former Grand Slam champions, Australia's Samantha Stosur upset former German world No. 1 Kerber in two tough sets, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

Stosur, 35, has slipped to 98 in the world rankings and has never played well in front of her home fans in Brisbane.

But with new coach — and former doubles partner — Rennae Stubbs at her side, Stosur played a strong tactical game to overcome Kerber.

"She knows all the players, her tactical awareness and everything about the players is excellent," Stosur said.

"That was something last year when I was going through without a coach, I found hard to do that day after day.

"Even though we know a lot of players and you know what to do, having that other set of eyes doing that is obviously very helpful."

In other matches, Czech Barbora Strycova upset seventh seeded Briton Johanna Konta 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, and Ajla Tomljanovic beat fellow Australian Priscilla Hon 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

In Auckland, New Zealand, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki teamed up in the doubles for the first time to beat Japanese pair Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-2, 6-4 at the Auckland Classic on Monday.

Muguruza fights back to advance in Shenzhen

Serena Williams (right) of the US and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrate their first-round victory against Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan at the Auckland Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. The duo won 6-2, 6-4.

Wozniacki is set to retire after the Australian Open later this month and Williams said she wanted to partner the Dane before she hung up her racquet.

"I had to play with her before she retires," the 38-year-old Williams said after the win saw the unseeded pair advance to the quarterfinals, where they could face the top seeds Caroline Dolehide of the US and Swede Johanna Larsson.

The Japanese duo struggled to deal with Williams' powerful serve in the opening stages before they got the measure of the American veteran to break her once.

But Williams and Wozniacki, who looked relaxed throughout the match and even found the time to joke with each other, continued to press in the second set and wrapped up the match in 71 minutes.

Williams and Wozniacki begin their singles campaigns at Auckland on Tuesday.

In Monday's singles matches, French eighth seed Caroline Garcia rallied to beat American Taylor Townsend 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in a match that lasted over 2-1/2 hours.

American teenager Coco Gauff, the youngest player in the draw at 15, saw off the challenge of last year's semifinalist Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia to advance with an impressive 6-3, 6-1 victory in 61 minutes.

Sixth seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden fell to Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek 6-7 (7),  6-7 (5).

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