Race for No.1 kicks off as Nadal,Djokovic start with wins

The Serb,aiming for his fourth China Open title in five years after missing the 2011 tournament through injury.

Written by Reuters | Beijing | Published: October 2, 2013 4:00:04 am

World No.1 Novak Djokovic and the man who can dislodge him from the top spot by next week,Rafa Nadal,kicked off their China Open campaign with straight set victories on Tuesday. Defending champion Djokovic needed just 54 minutes to crush his Czech opponent Lukas Rosol 6-0,6-3 without hitting a single double fault in a dominant first round display.

The Serb,aiming for his fourth China Open title in five years after missing the 2011 tournament through injury,improved his perfect tournament record to 15-0 after converting four of his eight break points against Rosol.

“I didn’t want to under-estimate my opponent knowing that he had few big wins in his career and he has a big serve,” Djokovic told the ATP website (www.atpworldtour.com) referring to his opponent who had caused one of the biggest upsets in the sport when he beat Nadal at Wimbledon 15 months ago.

“I needed to be very fresh from the start and try to bring positive intensity to the court,and that’s what happened. I really feel special in China in relation to the fans,because I don’t get to see that often. The fans basically wait for you every single day and night in the hotel,” said Djokovic who takes on Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the second round. Nadal had to work longer to subdue Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-2,6-4 in 90 minutes at Beijing’s National Tennis Stadium.

The Spaniard,who needs to reach the final in Beijing to reclaim the number one ranking,had no problem bagging the first set but Giraldo put up a stiffer resistance in the second before going down. Nadal meets Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany next. Serena Williams lost her serve twice to 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone before prevailing 6-4,7-5 in the second round.

Williams found herself having to grind against Schiavone in their second set,losing her serve twice and having to break back each time. Schiavone had three set points at 5-3 but Williams won 15 of the last 17 points to survive. Still,Schiavone,who won only one game off Williams at the U.S. Open,won her most against Williams in eight years. “It didn’t surprise me,” Williams said. “I was definitely more surprised that I played so well in the open,but it was a different circumstance — even though the scoreline looked much easier at the open,it wasn’t an easy match.”

Venus Williams,a wild-card recipient like Schiavone,fell to Sabine Lisicki of Germany for the first time in four years,6-1,6-2. Lisicki didn’t face a break point and broke Venus three times.

Somdev,Bhupathi out

Somdev Devvarman put up a valiant fight before going down to World No. 31 Fernando Verdasco at the China Open,while Mahesh Bhupathi yet again stumbled in the doubles first round. Somdev saved as many as nine break chances,but lost the battle 6-7 (6),3-6 in one hour and 34 minutes. Somdev traded a break with Verdasco to push the opening set to a tie-breaker,in which he could not get past the formidable Spaniard.

Bhupathi and Lindstedt lost 3-6 3-6 in one hour and three minutes. Before this Bhupathi lost the first rounds of US Open and in Bangkok.

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