Tennis

Radwanska survives scare in Shenzhen

Top seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland scraped a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 7-5 victory against unheralded Duan Ying Ying at the WTA Shenzhen Open yesterday to advance to the second round.

Radwanska, ranked third in the world, took nearly two and a half hours to overcome a stiff challenge from her 103rd-ranked Chinese opponent, winning fewer of her first service points but slamming down seven aces to Duan's four.

The Pole saved three match-points in the third set on her way to claiming victory.

Second seed Simona Halep of Romania triumphed in a three-set thriller 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 over Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.

Halep bounced back after a second-set loss to set up a second-round clash with Katerina Siniakova, who defeated hometown favourite Shuai Peng 6-3, 7-5.

Third seed Johanna Konta of Britain made a strong start with a dominant 6-2, 6-0 win over Turk Caga Buyukakcay.

Konta enters 2017 as a top-10 player for the first time in her career. She will face 27-year-old American Vania King in the next round.

Over in Auckland, rain disrupted the first day of the WTA Auckland Classic yesterday with only two matches completed, delaying the start of top-seeded Serena Williams' campaign.

Williams was forced to wait until 9.20pm (local time), nearly three hours past her scheduled start time, before her first-round match against Pauline Parmentier of France and other night matches were postponed because of persistent rain.

Former top-10 player Lucie Safarova cruised through her first match against fellow Czech Denisa Allertova 6-1, 6-2, thanks to seven aces.

In the other completed match, Japan's Kurumi Nara beat Antonia Lottner of Germany 6-2, 6-2. - AFP

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