Fri, October 08, 2010
Sports > Tennis & Golf > 2010 China Open Tennis

Former champs struggle in China Open first round

2010-10-03 08:25:38 GMT2010-10-03 16:25:38 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct, 3 (Xinhua) -- Former champions Jelena Jankovic and Agnes Szavay went through a tough day in the first round of 2010 China Open here on Saturday, as Jankovic managed to advance and Szavay had to pack up her baggage.

Being the highest ranked player staged on Saturday, the Serbian third seed Jankovic beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-5 in a 1 hour 34 minutes tight match.

"It was a tough match. The first match is always tough, and obviously you cannot expect yourself to play your best tennis," said Jankovic in the post-match new conference. "But I just hung in there and I just tried to make as many balls as possible in the court."

The 25-year-old Jankovic, titlist of China Open in 2008, broke her opponent in the first game. But the 37th ranked Zakopalova refused to concede a lopsided defeat and levelled the score as the Serb failed to save her own service in the following game.

The opening set remained close until Zakopalova break again in the sixth game, leading the third seed 4-2. Jankovic then raced out to win three games in a row, including two breaks, to overtake the lead.

After another exchange of breaks, Jankovic gained three set points in the 12th game before clinched the set 7-5 in 42 minutes.

"It was pretty windy, and the rain started a bit, you know, at the end. I was just lucky to finish and get through this first match. I just look to improve and get better," said Jankovic.

As the match entered the second set, the world 6th ranked Jankovic still could not control the rhythm.

"There are times in the match when you feel a little frustrated with your game. I started making some errors, but I just tried to hang in there. I just forget what happened, and I just wanted to keep moving, keep going after my shots."

Later into the set Jankovic was growing visibly frustrated, hitting the ball into the net repeatedly, while Zakopalova took the opportunity to go up to another 4-2 lead.

"I wanted to try to make as many balls as possible in the court. I managed to come back. Especially I was down 4-2, then came back and won that set," said the Serb who, again, took back three consecutive games and went on to secure the set 7-5 after squandering two match points.

"I just stayed strong mentally. I believe that I can get through, which I did," added Jankovic.

Struggling as the match was, Jankovic was lucky to win it. But the 2007 China Open titlist Szavay was not that lucky as the 36 ranked Hungarian lost to the 24-year-old Russian Elena Vesnina 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-3 to wave goodbye to the 4.5 million U.S. dollar tournament.

The 40-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm continued her legend in Beijing, smashing Anabel Medina Garrigues from Spain with a 6-0, 6-4 wipeout.

In the first round of the Pan Pacific Open slated for Sept. 24 to Oct. 2 in Tokyo, local favorite veteran Date Krumm shocked defending champion Maria Sharapova by 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. And the wild-card entrant went on to oust Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the second round to surprise the tennis world.

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