Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun crashed out of the second round of the men’s singles at the China Open in Beijing yesterday and there was a shock with Richard Gasquet losing, while top women’s seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova reached the last eight, both recording their third consecutive straight-sets victory.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez defeated Taiwanese No. 1 Lu in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7), while fifth-seed Gasquet of France also suffered a second-round defeat, losing to Chinese wild-card Zhang Ze in three sets.
Ze defeated Gasquet, who won the Thailand Open last week to end a two-and-a-half-year title drought, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
The Frenchman admitted afterwards that his exploits in Bangkok had left him tired, but said Ze, cheered on by an excited home support, had been the better player and deserved his victory.
“Last week, I played a big tournament. I’m not physically 100 percent, but it’s not the reason I lost,” Gasquet said. “He’s talented, he played aggressive and fast, and at the end he played better than me. He deserves this victory.”
In the women’s draw, world No. 1 and top seed Azarenka dispatched Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final tie with Switzerland’s Romina Oprandi.
The Belarussian 23-year-old has yet to drop a set in the tournament, defeating France’s Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-0 in the first round and Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 6-2 in the second.
“It was a little bit of a challenge today, for sure,” Azarenka said. “I felt like I could have been a bit more aggressive and not hesitate so much. When I won that last point, I was relieved and happy to finish the match in two sets.”
Second seed Sharapova, No. 2 in the WTA rankings behind Azarenka, defeated Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog, ranked 90th in the world, 6-0, 6-2 at the National Tennis Center in Beijing.
Sharapova, 25, had beaten Romania’s Simona Halep 7-5, 7-5 in the first round and Sorana Cirstea, also of Romania, 6-2, 6-2 in the second.
“I had a long first round, even though it was two sets, but today and yesterday was definitely a little bit quicker,” Sharapova said. “I played really well in the beginning and got a little tense in the second set, but I felt like I really needed that challenge. It’s nice to be in the quarter-final stage of this tournament.”
Sharapova faces her first real test of the Premier Mandatory event in the next round when she takes on either fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
The China Open is the fourth and final compulsory tournament of the women’s calendar, behind only the Grand Slams and the season-ending WTA Championships in prestige.
Additional reporting by staff writer