Johanna Konta beats Zhang Shuai to reach last 16 at Wuhan Open

Johanna Konta
Kontan reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier last year

Britain's Johanna Konta beat Zhang Shuai of China in straight sets to reach the last 16 at the Wuhan Open.

Konta, seeded 11th, won 6-3 6-3 and goes on to face Spanish seventh seed Carla Suarez Navarro in round three.

Another victory would see the 25-year-old Briton match last year's run to the quarter-finals in Wuhan, China.

Konta remains on course to face Germany's Angelique Kerber in the last eight after the world number one beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-4.

Kerber will play Petra Kvitova in the third round following the Czech 14th seed's 6-3 6-1 win over Elina Svitolina.

"I was trying to find my rhythm because I was not playing my best in the first set," said Kerber, who was playing her first match as number one after receiving a bye in the first round.

Sixth seed Venus Williams and eighth seed Madison Keys also made it through to the last 16.

Angelique Kerber
Kerber has overtaken Serena Williams at the top of the world rankings

Konta maintained her bid for a place at the season-ending WTA Finals with a confident performance against Zhang, the world number 38.

The Briton broke twice in each set, hitting eight aces along the way as she repeated her win over the Chinese player in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Konta began the week lying 10th in the race to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore, and now gets the chance to close the gap on Suarez Navarro, who currently occupies the eighth and final place.

"I don't think we actually ever played against each other on the tour yet. That's always fun. Something different, something new," said Konta.

"We've practised together a few times. She's an incredibly talented player, a very good player. I'm really looking forward to being on court with her."

At the Tashkent Open, British number three Naomi Broady beat Switzerland's Amra Sadikovic 6-4 7-5 in the first round.

Broady, seeded eighth, will play Russia's world number 104 Irina Khromacheva next.

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