Thai No 1 Luksika Kumkhum has been assigned to tough opening round against newly-crowned Australian Open doubles champion Zhang Shuai of China in the opening round of the US$250,000 WTA Thailand Open at True Arena in Hua Hin.
Garbine Muguruza gives alms to a monk.
The country’s lone hope in the singles maindraw is expected to have a gritty task with Zhang who just won the season’s opening Major with Samatha Stosur on Friday.
The Thai ace will go into the match with 0-1 record with the 42nd ranked Chinese who beat her 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in an ITF event in Tokyo three years ago.
Top seed and former world No 1 Garbine Muguruza of Spain will have the clash of the titans with former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the first round, while No 2 seed Caroline Garcia of France, the 19th ranked, will meet a qualifier.
Third seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, finalist at this venue in a WTA 125K series in 2017, faces Monica Niculescu of Romania. Fourth-seeded Zheng Saisai of China plays Mandy Minella of Luxembourg.
On Saturday’s morning, the world No 18 Muguruza and former world No 1 doubles player Peng Shuai of China gave alms to monks on a Hua Hin beach which was part of the tournament’s promotional activity.