Vesnina Ousts Sharapova
Published October 05, 2010 12:00
BEIJING, China - Elena Vesnina dashed Maria Sharapova's hopes of winning her first China Open on Tuesday, beating her good friend in a tight two-setter in the second round of the $4.5-million tournament, 76(3) 62.
In the pair's only previous meeting, Sharapova lost just three games in the early rounds of the 2008 Australian Open (the former No.1 went on to win her third Grand Slam title that fortnight). This time it was far different though, as Vesnina took it to the No.12 seed, firing five aces to no double faults while Sharapova had some trouble on her delivery (two aces to seven double faults).
"I'm definitely not as good as I wanted to be," Sharapova said. "After the US Open I wasn't able to train as much as I would've wanted to, and I feel like the last couple of weeks I've just been trying to play catch-up. My rhythm hasn't been where it should be. Obviously it's disappointing, but I've lost and won many matches in my career. I'll just have to regroup and move forward."
Sharapova was very gracious in defeat: "I have to give a lot of credit to my opponent. She played extremely well. She was really aggressive and hit the ball really deep and consistently. I wasn't able to do the things I do. She served extremely well and had me off-balance. It was definitely her day."
The three highest seeds in action were able to advance, with No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva beating Andrea Petkovic, 64 61; No.5 seed Francesca Schiavone overcoming a slow 1-3 start to beat Polona Hercog, 63 63; and No.7 seed Elena Dementieva overcoming 10 double faults to scrape past Japanese No.1 Kimiko Date Krumm in a see-saw match, 63 16 63.
"She's an incredible athlete. It's never easy to play against her," Dementieva said of Date Krumm, who turned 40 last week. "This is a very special place for me, because of the Olympic Games. Every time I come here, I feel excited and inspired with my result from there. I have so many great memories playing in Beijing and also winning Shanghai. It's great to come here every year."
No.9 seed Li Na and No.15 seed Shahar Peer also moved into the third round. Much to the delight of her home crowd, Li made a strong showing against Alisa Kleybanova, winning, 61 64. "To play on a home court is quite a good feeling," Li said. "The fans hold banners and are cheering for me. For years I've played here and feel very comfortable, and no nerves. I really enjoy it here."
Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic, Timea Bacsinszky and qualifiers Anastasija Sevastova and Vera Dushevina also scored wins. Ivanovic held off a late surge from Olga Govortsova to win, 60 75. "When I was 4-1 down in the second set, I realized I was sort of pulling back a little bit and wasn't as dominant as I was in the first set," Ivanovic said. "I had to stay calm and not panic, and not go for winners too soon. I'm really happy I managed to do that."