Beijing, China (4E Sports) – Top seed Serena Williams reached the third round of the China Open with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Francesca Schiavone Tuesday.
Williams hit three straight aces to hold serve and then broke Schiavone to take the first set. In the second, Schiavone took a 5-3 lead and even had three set points but Williams saved them all and ran off 15 of the last 17 points of the set to close the match out.
“It didn’t surprise me,” Williams said. “I was definitely more surprised that I played so well in the Open, but it was a different circumstance – even though the scoreline looked much easier at the Open, it wasn’t an easy match.”
However, Venus Williams was bounced in her opening match by 13th seed Sabine Lisicki, 6-1, 6-2. Lisicki fired 29 winners in the 53-minute match.
Also, fourth seed Li Na defeated Bojana Jovanovski, 6-0, 6-1, in just 53 minutes while sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki downed Monica Niculescu, 6-3, 6-1.
Seventh seed Angelique Kerber beat Laura Robson, 6-1, 6-2; ninth seed Petra Kvitova downed Varvara Lepchenko, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0; while 10th seed Roberta Vinci downed China’s Zhang Shuai, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Other winners were 11th seed Sloane Stephens and 12th seed Carla Suárez Navarro.
On the men’s side, fifth seed Richard Gasquet opened his campaign with a 6-3, 7-6(2) win over Florian Mayer while sixth seed Stanislas Wawrinka battled past Andreas Seppi, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes.
Gasquet and Wawrinka were later joined in the second round by fellow London hopefuls, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. The fourth-seeded Berdych cruised past Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-1 in 76 minutes.
Berdych goes straight through to the quarter-finals after his next opponent, Nikolay Davydenko, withdrew from the tournament with a right wrist injury after defeating qualifier Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6(3), 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes.
Ferrer faced a late night battle with Canadian Vasek Pospisil, prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) after two hours and 10 minutes.
Fernando Verdasco set a second-round clash with top seed Novak Djokovic after dismissing qualifier Somdev Devvarman, 7-6(6), 6-3. Meanwhile, Sam Querrey will face Wawrinka after defeating Mikhail Youzhny, 7-6(3), 6-3.
In Japan, Kei Nishikori survived a tough challenge from Jurgen Melzer en route to a 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-2 win in the first round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
Nishikori goes on to face Feliciano Lopez, who hit 18 aces to win a rain-interrupted clash against local wild card Tatsuma Ito 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Lucky loser Lukas Lacko – a replacement for Michael Llodra – knocked out seventh seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6(2).
Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic improved to 20-20 on the season after he saved all eight break points he faced in a 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-4 win over Victor Hanescu.
Other winners were Juan Martin del Potro, Ivan Dodig, Michal Przysiezny, Lukas Lacko and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.