Top-ranked Muguruza advances to third round at Wuhan Open

Garbine Muguruza of Spain returns a shot to Caroline Garcia of France during their quarter-final match of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Koji Sasahara/AP)

WUHAN, China — Top-ranked Garbine Muguruza advanced to the third round of the Wuhan Open by beating Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday.

The Wimbledon champion from Spain broke her opponent early in each set. She will next face Magda Linette of Poland.

"Two years ago I left here in the final. I always play well in China," said Muguruza, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2015 championship match. "I will try to just keep going forward."

In a pair of upsets, second-ranked Simona Halep and fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki both lost.

Halep lost to Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1. Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who won in Tokyo last weekend, was beaten by qualifier Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3.

It was Kasatkina’s third win over a top-five player. She beat then-No. 1 Angelique Kerber twice this year.

"The game was much more difficult than the score is," Kasatkina said.

Halep came into the tournament with a chance to take over as No. 1 from Muguruza this week.

Fourth-ranked Karolina Pliskova kept alive her shot at No. 1 by beating Shuai Zhang 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. To regain the top ranking, Pliskova must win the Wuhan Open title and hope Muguruza loses before the semifinals.

"I always want to play better than I did last year," Pliskova said. "I already won one round so hopefully I can win one more."

Also, two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-3, while seventh-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and 16th-seeded Elena Vesnina all won.

Other winners included Linette, Ekaterina Makarova, Caroline Garcia, Wang Qiang, Monica Puig and Varvara Lepchenko.