Top-seeded Elena Dementieva beat Taiwan＊s Chan Yung-jan (轙褆窴) 7-5, 6-3 yesterday to progress to the second round of the ASB Classic women＊s tennis tournament.
The Russian player, ranked fourth in the world, struggled in the first set but settled into her game in the second, beating the unseeded Chan in one hour, 32 minutes.
※She was on fire at the beginning and put a lot of pressure on me,§ Dementieva said. ※I didn＊t expect such a high level and it took me a while to get into the game.§
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark needed only 56 minutes to beat Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-1, 6-0.
Eighth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain also had an easy passage to the second round, beating Nathalie Dechy of France 6-4, 6-0, while seventh-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Kristina Barrois of Germany 6-3, 6-1.
The success of the seeded players followed wins on Monday by No. 3 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, No. 4 Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, No. 5 Shahar Peer of Israel and No. 6 Nicole Vaidisova of Czech Republic.
AFP, PERTH, Australia
France＊s chances of claiming a maiden Hopman Cup win suffered a major setback yesterday when they were upset 2-1 by Italy in the mixed teams tournament.
The loss means the French pairing of Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon need to beat second-seeded Russian siblings Marat Safin and Dinara Safina to have any chance of reaching Friday＊s final.
The Italian team of Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli, beaten on Sunday by the Russians, also remain in the hunt for the final with a tie against rank outsiders Taiwan tomorrow.
Cornet beat Pennetta 7-5, 6-2 before Simon, who reached a 〝career-high sixth ranking this week, slumped 6-3, 6-3 to Italian journeyman Bolelli. The Italians then claimed the deciding mixed doubles, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
With a couple of days to rest, Simon said the French could regroup and beat Russia tomorrow.
※We really want to play the final and we will give everything in the next match,§ he said. ※I won＊t practice too much tomorrow, to be ready on Thursday, and I think Alize is playing very good, so we are okay.§
AP, BRISBANE, Australia
Novak Djokovic doesn＊t think his first-round loss to Ernests Gulbis at the Brisbane International is any cause for panic ahead of his Australian Open title defense.
Struggling to find his rhythm with a new racket, top-seeded Djokovic was upset 6-4, 6-4 in his opening match of the season yesterday by the 20-year-old Latvian who finished last year at No. 53.
The setback gave him more time to prepare for the Australian Open which starts on Jan. 19 in Melbourne, added Djokovic, who later confirmed he had accepted a wild card entry for next week＊s Sydney International.
Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who lost to Djokovic in the last Australian Open final, beat Argentina＊s Agustin Calleri 6-2, 7-5 later yesterday and is now favored to win the inaugural Brisbane title.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic beat Australian Brydan Klein 6-0, 6-4, No. 7 Richard Gasquet of France beat American Taylor Dent 7-5, 6-4, and No. 4 Robin Soderling of Sweden had a 6-3, 6-3 win over Julien Benneteau in a second-round match.
American qualifiers Amer Delic and Bobby Reynolds both went out.
Croatia＊s Mario Ancic overcame Delic 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6) and Japan＊s Kei Nishikori beat Reynolds 6-3, 6-2.