Aryna Sabalenka advances to 2nd round at Tianjin Open

The Associated Press
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus hits a return shot while competing against Wang Qiang of China in their quarterfinal women's singles match in the China Open at the National Tennis Center in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Aryna Sabalenka advances to 2nd round at Tianjin Open

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus hits a return shot while competing against Wang Qiang of China in their quarterfinal women's singles match in the China Open at the National Tennis Center in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

TIANJIN, China (AP) -- Aryna Sabalenka moved closer to a spot in the WTA Finals by beating Sofia Kenin 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-0 in the first round of the Tianjin Open on Tuesday.

The fourth-seeded Sabalenka, who lost to Maria Sharapova in the final last year, won the Wuhan Open title two weeks ago. She also defeated Kenin en-route to that victory.

Second-seeded Caroline Garcia advanced by beating Chinese qualifier Xun Fang Ying 6-4, 6-1.

Third-seeded Elise Mertens and Timea Bacsinszky also advanced. Mertens beat Zhu Lin 7-5, 6-1, while Bacsinszky advanced after Danielle Collins retired from their match after losing the first set 6-3.

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