Qinwen Zheng won the most exciting match in the last day of R1 phase in WTA 500 tournament in Adelaide. The 20 years old Chinese player was one of the most danger unseeded players to pick in the draw, and it was definitely not quite a bad luck for Estonian Anett Kontaveit to get this kind of challenge in the opening match of the year. Even the pre-match predictions were suggesting that Zheng is a slight favourite with average odd about 1.6 on her with 2.2 on Kontaveit. The match was full of quality and and twists of action. Zheng started well with a quick break and taking opportunities on her site. She extended her lead then and resisted the Kontaveit's attempts to stay in the set. 6-1 in the first set and quick break in second foreshadowed the one-way traffic scenario, but the more experienced and titled Estonian forced back with two breaks in a row making it into decider. Third set was a series of guarding the service games from both players. Zheng was the only one to face a breakpoint in the middle phase of it, but rescued herself. Tiebreak was not less tight than the whole match. Kontaveit was the player who made the pressure on Zheng, taking the mini-break advantage twice, but it was Chinese who responded for it well and won the decisive points defeating her opponent 9-7. She will face Victoria Azarenka in R16. Former world #1 eliminated Anhelina Kalinina in two tie-breaks.
Jelena Ostapenko overpowered Karolina Pliskova in the last match of the day. Ostapenko was definitely on her day, striking the balls with a confidence and gaining multiple winners. It was very convincing performance, giving no chance for Pliskova and winning it 6-1 6-3 at the end.
Australian Summer competitions consist not only Adelaide this week. There is a very interesting 250 tournament in Auckland, with no much worse field than in Adelaide's 500 competition. Big names came into action today, as Cori Gauff opened her season with dominant 6-4 6-1 win against Tatiana Maria. The play in Auckland was often interrupted by the rain, which was a bane during whole day. Gauff took the advantage from the start, winning first 4 games, but then rain came into voice, stopping the match for quite a time. After that, the American could not find her performance, blowing away all her effort. She regrouped then, winning 10 from last 11 games and advancing into next round with style.
The most interesting game to watch was the duel between young guns - Emma Raducanu and Linda Fruhvirtova. Raducanu, 2021 US Open champion, who tries to find herself back in the range of top players again, was facing one of the hottest names of young generation, who starts her first season on the biggest stage. The match started with a lot of service quality with Fruhvirtova being the first who capitalized her chances, winning first set 6-4. Second one also started in her favour with early break, but then Raducanu saved her existence in a match. She was unstoppable force in a decider, winning 5 games without any response. Fruhvirtova took one break back, but it was too late once Raducanu crossed the line with a score 6-2.