Zheng In, Li Out

China's top stars went 1-1 at the Malaysian Open on Tuesday. Elena Dementieva also won.

Published February 23, 2010 06:12

Zheng In, Li Out
Zheng Jie

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Top seed Elena Dementieva made an imperious start to her Malaysian Open campaign on Tuesday, but No.2 seed Li Na was ousted by Tatjana Malek at the $220,000 International event.

Although Li fought back to level her first round match at a set all, Germany's Malek cast aside the disruption of a 90-minute thunderstorm to unsettle the Australian Open semifinalist, 61 57 62.

"I am really happy," said 23-year-old Malek after her first Top 10 win. "I have never played Li but I know she is a good player. I opted for a different strategy to hit some high balls and slices. I knew that to win I should not hit hard returns… my strategy worked."

With Li gone, China's best hopes rest with No.3 seed Zheng Jie, who crafted a 64 63 win over qualifier Elena Bovina. Former world No.14 Bovina struggled to find a response to Zheng's potent forehand while herself making too many backhand errors.

"Bovina is a good player but my serve was better," Zheng said. "The rain did not affect my game - my aim was to finish the match quickly."

Check out off-court photos from Malaysia in the photo gallery!

Later, Dementieva had to work a bit harder than the 62 61 scoreline of her match with Ekaterina Bychkova would suggest. The two Russians tussled for 78 minutes, with the Beijing gold medalist's superior firepower and savvy ultimately giving her the edge.

Two other seeds took to the courts at the Bukit Kiara club. No.6 seed Sybille Bammer was tested in two sets by Greek qualifier Anna Gerasimou, 64 75, while No.7 seed Magdalena Rybarikova closed out Tamarine Tanasugarn with assurance, 75 63.

Alla Kudryavtseva, Chanelle Scheepers, Akgul Amanmuradova and Chang Kai-Chen also secured second round berths, as did wildcard Noppawan Lertcheewakarn.

Lertcheewakarn's 61 64 defeat of Russian qualifier Ksenia Pervak marked the 18-year-old Thai's first main draw win on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

"The transition from the junior level to the professional one is not easy but I am confident in myself and I am looking forward to winning tomorrow," said Lertcheewakarn, who is the current holder of the Wimbledon junior title.

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