Tennis: Vandeweghe beats Chinese wild card in Zhuhai

Zhuhai (China) (AFP) –


America's Coco Vandeweghe beat her Chinese wild card opponent on the first day of the WTA Elite Trophy on Tuesday, bringing her a step closer to a semi-final berth.

The second seed, making her debut at the season-ending tournament, downed China?s number one player Peng Shuai 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 55 minutes at the Zhuhai Hengqin International Tennis Centre.

The 25-year-old had previously won only one match in her past four tournaments on Chinese soil.

She admitted starting off "sloppy" against Peng -- the oldest player in the tournament and ranked 27 in the world.

"Today was a survive and conquer kind of day, I really was playing not so well, very below average for the standard that I?m used to playing," she told journalists after the match.

"It?s a tough part of the year and a tough event... after the US Open it's kinda, it's, it's rough, there's no secret about that," she said.

"It?s very difficult to come back emotionally, more so physically, after a Grand Slam."

Peng had got off to a good start, securing the break in the second game and holding serve to give her a 3-0 lead.

Vandeweghe broke serve in the seventh game but failed to consolidate the break, giving Peng the upper hand.

But the American made a comeback in the second and third sets, losing serve just once.

"Everything depends on how you play on the particular day," said Peng, the crowd favourite.

"Today I felt that I played pretty well but then my opponent did even better."

The Elite Trophy features 12 players placed nine and below in world rankings, while those ranked eight and above made up the field for the WTA Finals in Singapore which ended Sunday.

The round-robin format means Peng still has a chance to qualify for the semis.