I said in my preview this is one that Heather should be winning but a lot of matches fall into this category and sadly it is another early exit for the British number one. Kulichkova won the match in three sets after dropping the second set and won the match in 129 minutes the longest of any match in the first round of Guangzhou this week. Heather served 10 aces and 9 double faults and despite saving 12/15 break points couldn’t find a way to win. The good news Heather and her doubles partner Irina Falconi both lost in round one so hopefully they stick around and can hopefully go on a good run in the doubles. Watson is now on a four match losing streak and her last three defeats have been to players ranked lower than her on the tour.
In Guangzhou Simona Halep’s quest for her fourth title of the year got to a good start with a 6-4 6-2 win against Petra Martic in just under 90 minutes. It wasn’t the best performance from Halep who served 7 double faults but was solid to see her through to round two and will improve throughout the week.
Elsewhere Suarez Navarro managed to secure her first win since June in Tokyo with a 7-6 6-2 against Bondarenko. Kerber also defeated Gavrilova and Ana Konjuh defeated Kristina Mladenovic setting up a round two match with Caroline Wozniacki!