BEIJING, China - Carla Suárez Navarro pulled off the first big upset of the China Open on Monday, taking out No.4 seed Petra Kvitova in straight sets, 63 62, as the second round of the Premier-level tournament kicked off.
Suárez Navarro has a penchant for the big upset - she already had three Top 10 wins to her name before this, defeating Venus Williams at the Australian Open in 2009, Svetlana Kuznetsova at Indian Wells in 2010 and Sam Stosur at the Olympics earlier this year. And she has come close a few more times again this year, leading Kvitova by 2-0 in the third set at the Australian Open and leading 64 31 against Agnieszka Radwanska at the US Open.
But there was nothing close about this one as Suárez Navarro's mix of topspin and slice drew error after error from Kvitova, and the Spaniard ran off the last eight points of the match to seal the deal in an hour and six minutes.
The only other seed playing their second round match came very close to joining Kvitova on the sidelines, but reacted much differently - No.11 seed Ana Ivanovic stared down double match point as she trailed Varvara Lepchenko 64 53 and served at 15-40; but she fought the match points and Lepchenko off, winning 10 of the next 11 games to outlast the American, 46 75 61.
The other two second round matches saw Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina win a marathon 75-minute first set before cruising against Tamira Paszek, 76(5) 62; and Peng Shuai rally from a set and a break down to beat Yaroslava Shvedova in the last match of the Monday night session, 57 75 62.
The second round continues on Tuesday, and one of the players in action will be World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska, fresh off the finals of Tokyo. The Polish star met the press on Monday afternoon during her All-Access Hour.
"Last year I had a great run, especially Tokyo and Beijing, winning both of them in a row," Radwanska said. "I'm happy I could make the final in Tokyo again this year - of course it's always disappointing to lose in the final, especially when it's tight and it's three sets. But Nadia was playing really, really well that day.
"It's not going to be easy in Beijing. A lot of top players are playing here. But I will do everything in my power to defend this title - I came to win."
Radwanska was asked about her breakthrough season, which has included reaching her first Grand Slam final and making it all the way to No.2.
"For sure I've had a really great season this year, getting to No.2 in the world for the first time and reaching the Wimbledon final," she said. "Of course I'm working hard to win a Grand Slam. I'm always trying to improve, and there's always something to improve. Winning a Grand Slam is hard because you have to win seven matches - but I'll have four chances to win one next year."
Last year, Radwanska beat Andrea Petkovic in the final here and danced on the court with the German afterwards. "I promise if I win this tournament I will dance even more," she declared. "Remind me if I get to the final!"