China's Li reaches Cincinnati third round
Date published :
16 Aug 2011 - 22:30:16
French Open champion Li Na moved smoothly into the third round of the ATP and WTA hardcourt US Open tune-up here Tuesday with a straight-set victory over Lucie Safarova.
Li, whose triumph at Roland Garros made her China's first Grand Slam tennis champion, defeated the Czech 6-3, 6-4 to become the first woman to reach the third round.
It was Li's first match win since her second-round exit at Wimbledon, and followed her opening match defeat in Toronto last week.
"I needed some matches for the hard court," said Li, who reached the Australian Open final in January.
"It's always tough, but I was happy I could win the match today," added Li, the fifth seed. "Because I missed a lot, I think I need some matches for me to find the timing on the court."
Fourth-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova, sixth-seeded Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli were also due to open their campaigns with second-round matches on Tuesday.
All of the top eight seeds, led on the women's side by Caroline Wozniacki and on the men's by Novak Djokovic, have first-round byes.
Men's third-seed Roger Federer was slated for a second-round clash with Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Potro, who upset Federer in five sets in the 2009 US Open final, is climbing back up the rankings after missing much of 2010 with a wrist injury that required surgery.
After losing six straight to Federer, del Potro has won their last two encounters.
"If I have a good day, maybe I can make a surprise," said del Potro, who advanced on Sunday when Andreas Seppi retired from their first-round match.
"Not many players can beat Federer. I've already beaten him twice, so I know how to play him. But it's Roger. He's the favorite."
Men's eighth seed Tomas Berdych took on Argentina's Juan Monaco in another men's second-round clash.
In other first-round matches on Tuesday, in-form former world number one Serena Williams - winner of her last two tournaments - held on to beat tenacious Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
Unseeded Flavia Pennetta upset 12th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, while 13th-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia cruised past Czech Iveta Benesova 6-0, 6-3.
On the men's side, Czech Radek Stepanek - winner of his first title in 2 1/2 years earlier this month when he won the Washington Classic - withstood 21 aces from John Isner to defeat the gargantuan American 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a Wimbledon semi-finalist and the 15th seed, defeated Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4, while Croatia's Ivan Dodig defeated Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to line up a second-round clash with sixth-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils.