Sabalenka ends clay drought in style with Strasbourg success
Aryna Sabalenka enjoyed a welcome confidence boost on clay ahead of the French Open, thrashing Zhu Lin 6-0 6-1 in round one of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
Sabalenka came into Sunday's match having not won on the red dirt for more than a year, after respective first-round losses in Madrid and Rome to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alize Cornet.
However, the Belarusian needed just 47 minutes to prevail against China's Zhu, who was totally outclassed and won only 17 points.
Next up for Sabalenka - the second seed in Strasbourg - is a meeting with Laura Siegemund or Renata Zarazua.
Wang Qiang, Rebecca Peterson, Fiona Ferro and Zheng Saisai also progressed to round two on Sunday, the latter needing two tie-breaks to beat French wildcard Harmony Tan.
There were two retirements on day one of the Nuremberg Cup, with Vera Lapko and Dalila Jakupovic unable to complete their respective matches against Sara Sorribes Tormo and top seed Yulia Putintseva.
Evgeniya Rodina was the other player to bow out, the seventh seed losing 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to Madison Brengle.