Li Cruises, Kvitova & Kerber Win Too
Published October 01, 2013 12:02
The No.4-seeded Li came out of the blocks with eight games in a row, not losing more than two points in any of those games, and after Jovanovski held in the ninth game, the World No.5 ran away with it.
"To be honest, I'm very satisfied with my form so far, including mental and physical," Li said. "I'm very happy. This year I'm feeling very relaxed at this tournament, unlike last year, when I had to make the semifinals to qualify for the WTA finals. I told my coach this China Open is like a bonus for me.
"I'm just going to try to enjoy every match this year and we'll see what happens."
One of the questions that follows Li around the world is why China has had such big success in the women's game but not in the men's game yet - but little by little the Chinese men have been creeping up the ATP World Tour rankings too, and on Tuesday, Wu Di - who is friends with Li - nearly sprung a big upset, winning the first set on John Isner and leading 4-1 in the second set tie-break before falling.
"He told me if he wins his first round match he would treat me to dinner for one week; if he lost he would treat me for two days," Li said. "After he took the 4-1 lead I thought, 'Well, he's going to make it. Then I have free dinner for one week.' But when he lost the match I asked him, 'Did you lose because you were afraid to treat me to dinner?' Of course, it was just a joke. We were laughing about it.
"But I think he had a really good performance today. He's not as experienced as his opponent today, Isner. I'm sure that he will have a better performance in his next match in the Shanghai Masters."
Other top seeds winning were No.6 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Monica Niculescu in straight sets for the fifth time in five career meetings, 63 61; No.7 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat Laura Robson, 61 62; No.9 seed Petra Kvitova, who rallied from a set and a break down to beat Varvara Lepchenko, 26 62 60; and No.10 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat China's Zhang Shuai, 36 63 61.
"She's ranked Top 12 and is a really experienced player," Zhang said of Vinci. "No matter whether it's singles or doubles, when I play against Vinci it's really tough because it's really difficult to find a good opportunity to win points. To be honest I'm pleased with my performance, because compared with how I've performed with her before, I was much better today. I just need to take my opportunities more.
"She has a good backhand slice. And she changes the rhythm well - in the second set she tried to be more aggressive, which made it even tougher. At the important moments, I couldn't keep up with her."
Other winners were No.11 seed Sloane Stephens, No.12 seed Carla Suárez Navarro and Maria Kirilenko. It was a revenge day for Stephens, who beat Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard in a see-saw three-setter, 61 16 64 - Stephens had just lost to Bouchard in another three-setter in Tokyo.