‘Frustrated’ Naomi Osaka up and running as Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina also win

Naomi Osaka chuckling

Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina were made to work for their wins at the China Open while Simona Halep had an easier day at the office.

Fourth seed Osaka won in two sets against Jessica Pegula, but the American did have her moments before the two-time Grand Slam winner secured the 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win.

“During tournaments, the first match is always the worst for me,” Osaka said. “But I was kind of expecting it to be better because I just played really well in Tokyo (Osaka).

“I don’t know, I thought it would carry on. I was a little bit frustrated that I felt my game wasn’t really where I left it. I just felt like today I was really riled up, not really sure why.”

Svitolina had an even tougher workout as her match against Anastasija Sevastova went the distance, but the third seed eventually emerged victorious with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-2 win.

“The first set was tough, and she played some great points at the end,” Svitolina said. “But then I tried to re-focus and step up.”

Three-time Grand Slam winner and 10th seed Angelique Kerber was another player who went to three sets as the German beat Shuai Zhang from China 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

Sixth seed Halep, though, had a more relaxed opening match as she dropped only two games during a straightforward 6-1, 6-1 win over qualifier Rebecca Peterson.

Venus Williams, meanwhile, rolled back at the years as the former world No 1 beat Barbora Strycova 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 while Sloane Stephens beat Magda Linette 7-5, 6-3.

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