Rising Chinese Star Li Upsets Jankovic
GUANGZHOU, China - Wednesday turned out to be a bad day for seeded players at the Guangzhou International Women's Open 2004 as three players fell in first and second round action.
In second round action, Chinese qualifier Na Li turned out to be too much for No.2 seed Jelena Jankovic (right), who fell 06 62 76(6). Li, who also took Svetlana Kuznetsova to three sets last week in Beijing, said she learned to relax a little after not winning a game in the first set.
"In the first set, I made many mistakes," Li said. "But I tried to settle down and play longer points, which got me into the match. It was very difficult. I think taking nearly two years off playing tennis has me a lot more patient during matches."
Li has compiled a remarkable record in 2004, which climbed to 41-3 following Wednesday's victory. Before taking part in last week's action, all of Li's victories this year had come on the ITF circuit, where she opened the season with a 28-match winning streak.
Jankovic, who was forced to retire in the quarterfinals last week in Beijing due to an ankle sprain, didn't feel she played up to her ability in her first match in Guangzhou.
"It was a bad day for me," Jankovic said. "I'm still injured a little from Beijing. I really relaxed too much in the second set and she started to play great. She is a very good player and I know she nearly beat Kuznetsova last week. I'm sure she will be great for Chinese tennis."
No.8 seed Klara Koukalova also had a rough outing in her second round match, falling to Slovak Repulican Martina Sucha, 76(4) 64. Sucha will next face the winner of No.3 seed Flavia Pennetta and Tamarine Tanasugarn in the quarterfinals.
In first round action, No.5 seed Maria Vento-Kabchi joined Jankovic and Koukalova on the sidelines, falling to China's Jie Zheng, 62 60. Zheng will take on Barbora Strycova in the second round.
"I tried to be patient and I think my game has gotten better because of the matches I played last week in Beijing," Zheng said. "I was very happy how I played and especially with my serve."
No.6 seed Kristina Brandi was the only seeded player in action on Day 3 that didn't lose as she took out Chinese qualifier Nan-Nan Liu in striaght sets, 76(4) 63. Brandi will face Russia's Tatiana Panova in the second round.
Also victorious on Wednesday was Russia's Dinara Safina, who dropped just three games in a 61 62 win against Argentina's Mariana Diaz-Oliva. Safina set the hot temperatures at the event on Wednesday made her want to make the match quick.
"It was so hot and humid out there, I didn't want to play for too long," Safina said. "So I was aggressive, but didn't make too many mistkes and focused very hard. I didn't give her any chances and put lots of pressure on her."