The biggest upset so far at the China Open in Beijing has been made by 43rd-ranked Andrea Petkovic of Germany, who eliminated world No.2 and defending champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in a three-setter. Azarenka, who committed 15 double faults and 44 unforced errors in the match, later said that she had not been pleased with her game, but such slumps happen to every player once or twice a year, and it was her time.
Petkovic was the first to take charge, by establishing a 6-4 2-1 lead in the match. The momentum then swung to Azarenka’s side, as the Belarusian took seven straight games to go up 2-0 in the third set. Tied at 4-all in the decider, Azarenka made her 15th double fault on break point and in the next game Petkovic served out the match, 6-4 2-6 6-4, after two hours and 22 minutes. Now their head-to-head record is 2-1 for Azarenka.
Petkovic’s second-round opponent will be 25th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia who defeated Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei 6-1 6-1 in one hour and 13 minutes. Kuznetsova and Petkovic have faced each other four times so far and are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head encounters.
Two seeds passed into the second round on Monday. In their fifth encounter, eight seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in one hour and 58 minutes, 1-6 6-4 6-0. Jankovic will face 80th-ranked Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan in the second round. The Kazakh defeated Canadian Sharon Fichman 6-4 6-3 in the first round. The other seed that passed into the second round was seed No.14 Ana Ivanovic who eliminated 29th-ranked Flavia Pennetta of Italy for the second time this year. The Serb had a tight first set, recovering from a 1-5 deficit and winning it in a long tiebreak, but lost just one game in the second set to close the match 7-6(9) 6-1. In the second round, Ivanovic will for the first time in her career meet 76th-ranked Polona Hercog of Slovenia. Polona Hercog advanced with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Monica Puig, ranked 45th.
Other first-round matches played on Monday included 39th-ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia, who ousted 21st-ranked Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3 6-2, Zhang Shuai of China who beat compatriot Peng Shuai 6-3 6-3, and Eugenie Bouchard who defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1 6-1.
Meanwhile the second round began and fifth-seeded Sara Errani beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-2 in their first career encounter, while Lucie Safarova met Kaia Kanepi for the eighth time and defeated her 6-3 6-3, extending her lead over the Estonian to 6-2. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)
I’m worried for her at the YEC…
Very surprised to see Azarenka lose her first match again, but I think it’s nothing more than a blip. She does need to work on her serve though in the off-season because it has been especially shaky all summer.