Garbine Muguruza and Madison Keys were impressive winners on the second day of action at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
Another was Anett Kontaveit, who beat defending champion Julia Goerges 6-2 4-6 6-4 to finish with a 1-1 record in the Rose Group after losing to Elise Mertens on Tuesday.
If Mertens beats Goerges on Thursday, the Belgian tops the group with a 2-0 record and will advance to the semifinals.
Muguruza recovered from losing the opening set – during which she called for the trainer to treat what appeared to be a back injury – to run out a 3-6 6-3 6-2 winner.
The Spaniard is trying to end a disappointing season on a high note, and has won eight of her past 12 matches.
She’ll face world No.11 Anastasija Sevastova in her second round-robin match, with a win sending her through to the semis.
“I saw she played very well in the Asian Swing and I’m not surprised. I feel like every time I play with her, it’s a big fight. It’s never an easy match. Her intensity is very fast,” said Muguruza of Zhang, who reached the China Open quarterfinals before advancing to the last four in Hong Kong.
“After the first set, I thought it doesn’t matter really now. I have another set. Doesn’t matter how I felt. It was a good challenge to look for something more and try to change it, you know, to have the chance to win the match at the end.”
Muguruza, who started 2018 ranked No.2, is currently ranked 17th.
Keys, meanwhile, hit Kasatkina off the court in 68 minutes to end the top seed’s bid for a semifinal place.
It will be either Keys or Wang Qiang advancing to the semis from the Azalea Group depending on the result of their match later this week.
“I think I served well. I think there was a little bit of a lull in the second set, but overall I was happy with that,” Keys told wtatennis.com.
“I think I returned really well, which is something I’ve been focusing on. Overall, I think I played really solid and went out and did what I needed to do.”
On Thursday, Caroline Garcia and Ash Barty will do battle before Mertens takes on Goerges. Sevastova and Zhang will contest the night match.
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