Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Li makes third round in Madrid as Baltacha mourned

AFP, MADRID

China’s Zheng Jie yesterday returns to compatriot Li Na in their women’s singles second-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain.

Photo: EPA

Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska were among the big-name winners at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday and yesterday as the tennis world paid their respects to the shocking death of Elena Baltacha.

The former British No. 1 died at the age of 30 on Sunday after a short battle against liver cancer.

A minute’s silence in honor of Baltacha ahead of Monday’s evening session at the Caja Magica in the Spanish capital was attended by 50 players from the ATP and WTA circuits.

World No. 2 Li yesterday secured her place in the third round of the event with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over compatriot Zheng Jie.

Zheng led the head-to-head record between the two 4-3 before yesterday, but Li has now won their past four ties in straight sets and is to face 16th seed Sloane Stephens or Petra Cetkovska in the last 16.

Before defeating Zheng, the Australian Open champion avoided a repeat of her shock first-round exit last year with a 6-1, 7-6 (9/7) win over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens on Monday.

Li raced through the opening set, but had to save two set points in the second before closing out the match in a tie-break.

Earlier on Monday, third seed Radwanska sealed her place in the last 32 with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win over Australian Open semi-finalist Eugenie Bouchard to set up a second-round clash with Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Also on Monday, World No. 5 Simona Halep routed Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-0, while there were also straight-sets wins for Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic over Ekaterina Makarova and Elina Svitolina respectively.

Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia became the only top-10 seed to fall on Monday, as she was comprehensively beaten 6-4, 6-0 by 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia.

It was smooth sailing for the men’s seeds as Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all advanced to round two.

Japan’s Nishikori kept up his recent fine form with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Croatian Ivan Dodig to set up a meeting with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round.

Ninth-seed Isner was typically solid on serve as the American was not broken in his 7-6, (10/8), 6-4 win over Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Tsonga faced a stiffer test against fellow Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but also came through in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa had a walkover in the first round, when opponents Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Maria Kirilenko of Russia pulled out before a ball was hit.

Italy’s Francesca Schiavone and Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain’s 6-1, 6-2 first-round triumph over Varvara Lepchenko of the US and Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic set up a second-round clash with top seeds Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and China’s Peng Shuai, who had a bye in the first round.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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