Upsets rule opening day in the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open 2017

Updated: February 27, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — IT was a day of upsets in the ALYA Malaysian Open at TPC Kuala Lumpur today. Qualifier Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands caused the biggest surprise by ousting seventh seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to record her first tour win (in the main draw) since turning professional in 2009.

In the first round match that lasted 85 minutes, the 26-year-old broke Elise’s serve four times and led 6-5 in the second set before closing the match. “It is a historic day for me….it is my first ever main draw win and I am so happy today. Whatever happens after this, the ALYA Malaysian Open will always be special to me. My coach did not travel here and it is kind of a surprise to win today. I like the courts and the conditions here…everything is perfect. Elise is a good friend and she had a good season last year. However, I think she was not playing her best tennis today. I am not thinking about my next round match yet. I want to enjoy this moment,” said Lesley, who will play qualifier Sabina Sharipova of Uzbekistan or former champion Hsieh Su Wei of Taiwan in the second round.

Wild card entry Zheng Saisai of China also notched her first ever win in her seventh attempt in Kuala Lumpur by ousting compatriot and last year’ semi-finallist Zhu Lin 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 6-3 while Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty defeated World No 97 Irina Falconi of United States 6-3, 5-7, 6-0. “I finally won my first match here. The rain delayed my match but I am used to the conditions as I have played many times here. I am not thinking about my second round match yet as I also have to play in the doubles event,” said Zheng Saisai, who has won one singles and three tour titles.

The World No 111 plays compatriot and sixth seed Wang Qiang or Serbian Nina Stojanovic in the second round. Fifth seed Duan Ying Ying defeated Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3 in her first match back from illness.

“I was ill and did not train for 10 days before the tournament. Zarina made it very difficult for me. I was broken and was 4-2 down in the first set, but I was patient and was able to break back,” said Ying Ying.

In other matches, Japan’s Nao Hibino edged Belgian Maryna Zanevska 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 while Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo defeated compatriot Silvia Soler Espinosa 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

The ALYA Malaysian Open continues tomorrow with the singles and doubles first round matches.

DAY 1 Highlights

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