TIANJIN, China — 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.