Kenin leads Abu Dhabi field as WTA Tour kicks off

Fernandez

Leylah Annie Fernandez hits a shot during the Rogers Cup in Toronto on August 5, 2019.

The ninth-seeded Sakkari faced four break points, but saved them all in a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Anastasia Potapova.

Despite the loss, it was likely a heartening singles experience for 25-year-old Yang, who had won only two WTA main-draw singles matches in her career and had never before played a Top 30 opponent in the singles discipline.

Kasatkina was the first victor of the new season, beating Wang Qiang 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 after leading 2-0 in the deciding set.

Her left ankle turned over and she collapsed to the ground in acute pain.

"I obviously got a little bit upset, emotional".

"We're good friends and that's not something you like to see", Kenin said, quoted on the WTA website. "I just hope [Flipkens] can have a speedy recovery and get ready for Australia", she said.

"I'm not sure when Covid is going to be over but we want our freedom".

Kenin said she had wanted to cross to Flipkens's side of the court to help her, but couldn't because of physical distancing rules limiting contact between players during the coronavirus pandemic.

The board which Flipkens tripped over was positioned between the baseline and a line judge's chair. "It was just really unfortunate". It was the Russian's first game since October, and Wang's first since March.

Kenin will next play 13th-seeded Yulia Putintseva.

Muguruza downs Mladenovic: No.5 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain emerged the victor in an intriguing first-round battle as she defeated former Top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 6-4 in her first match of the season.

Aryna Sabalenka could be a player to fear at Melbourne Park in February, as the world number 10 made it 11 consecutive match wins by fending off Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-4. The Tunisian came from a set down to beat Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening match of the day, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

With files from The Associated Press.

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