Venus Williams crashes out of China Open
BEIJING: Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams crashed out of the first round of the China Open to Chinese wildcard Peng Shuai on Monday.
World number one Angelique Kerber, meanwhile, continued her stellar season beating qualifier Katerina Siniakova in two sets in her opening match in Beijing.
After a close first set, the former US Open semi-finalist Peng allowed the American veteran player just one game point in the second to win 7-5, 6-1.
Peng, 30, came of age at the same time as China´s first — and only — Grand Slam singles champion Li Na.
She reached a career high of 17 in 2011, the same year Li won her first Slam at Roland Garros and rose to world number five, taking with her the popularity of tennis in China.
But Peng´s career has since been blighted by injury, which forced her to miss much of 2015 and pushed her to the brink of retirement.
Czech Siniakova, 20, played an impressive net game against top seed Kerber but was unable to take control of the match, handing the German a 6-4, 6-4 win.
The German won her second Grand Slam title of the year — and her career — at the US Open last month in the same week that also saw her rise to number one, dethroning long-reigning Serena Williams.
Kerber, 28, started the year ranked 10th but reached her first ever Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January — and scooped the crown.
Her strong run continued as she reached the final of Wimbledon and bagged an Olympic silver medal in Rio.
Meanwhile, defending champion Garbine Muguruza booked her spot in the final 16, downing 21-year-old Yulia Putintseva in her second-round match.
The Spaniard has her eyes on making her second consecutive WTA Final — the elite eight-player season finale — and needs to reach the final in Beijing to guarantee her qualification.
On the men´s side, David Ferrer and fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut both prevailed in their tougher-than-expected first-round matches.