SOFIA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Zheng Jie stumbled in her first match in the Tournament of Champions, losing 2-6, 6-4, 7-4 (4) to home player Tsvetana Pironkova.
Seeded sixth, Zheng failed to conquer her opponent in the two hours and 41 minutes match as the Bulgarian No.1 was willed to the victory amid home support.
Zheng cruised through the first set and was two games from victory at 6-2, 4-4 but the No.8 seed Pironkova started finding the range on her serve and massive backhand from there, reeling off five games to take the set and build a 3-0 lead in the third.
Zheng would eventually close that gap, grinding from 0-3 and later 3-5 to go up 6-5 in the third, but Pironkova held serve and held on in the tie-break to win.
In another group, number one seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, beat fifth seed Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei, 6-2, 6-2 and Italian Roberta Vinci, seeded No. 4, eased past seventh seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-2.
Tournament of Champions is the season-ending championships for players who have won one of the WTA International Series but have not qualified for the WTA Championships.
The singles draw will see eight women players, split into two groups of four, begins as a round robin event with top two finishers of each group advancing into the semifinals.