Li through in China after overcoming late scare

29 September 2013 12:57

Li Na won her tricky first-round tie at the China Open Sunday, overcoming a late surge from her opponent Daniela Hantuchova which sent jitters through the home crowd.

The world number five opened her bid to claim her biggest title on home soil in stunning fashion by winning every game in the first set, much to the enjoyment of the crowd at Beijing's National Tennis Centre.

Hantuchova did not get on the scoreboard until the hour mark, with the 2011 French Open singles champion cruising at 4-0 in the second set and seemingly in command.

The Slovakian, who has beaten Li four times in their previous six meetings, then staged an impressive comeback until Li regained her composure to close in on victory.

The Chinese star has faced scrutiny in the past for seemingly breaking down in matches. She blamed herself for losing her US Open semi-final match this month after being overwhelmed by the occasion.

Li has twice reached the semi-finals at the prestigious Beijing event without being able to go all the way. She has won twice in China, in Shenzhen this year and in Guangzhou in 2004.

Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska overcome early tournament nerves to cruise through to the second round at this year's event.

The Polish world number four and 2011 winner in Beijing lost the opening set of her first-round match to a feisty Stefanie Voegele, who is ranked 52 places behind her.

But the tournament's third seed recovered her composure to seal a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory which sent her Swiss opponent out at the first hurdle.

It was heartbreak though for Australia's number one, Samantha Stosur, at the dual WTA and ATP tournament.

The 15th seed lost in two sets to Czech Lucie Safarova, 7-5, 6-3.

The second day of women's matches also saw Estonia's Kaia Kanepi claim victory over Germany's Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-4, and American Madison Keys defeat Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-3.

The China Open will reach its climax on October 6.

The women's tournament has 64 competitors, while the men's, which was at the qualification stage on Sunday, involves 32 competitors.

Source: AFP