Thursday, February 29, 2024

Wozniacki survives Beijing scare, Roddick exits

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BEIJING: Holder Caroline Wozniacki survived a tough challenge to begin her title defence of the ATP-WTA China Open on Monday, with the top seed stretched to the limit in a win over Lucie Hradecka 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Wozniacki, the top-ranked player on the WTA but without a Grand Slam crown, has had a patchy few months, winning a minor pre-US Open title, stalling in the semifinals of the New York major and then crashing to a second-round loss last week in Tokyo.

But Beijing has a special place for the Dane, winner of six titles this season, who first took over the top ranking in the Chinese capital a year ago.

Wary of the first-round upset loss of French Open winner Li Na of China, Wozniacki made sure she came through for victory over her 49th-ranked opponent from the Czech Republic, but not before dropping the first set.

“It wasn’t a pretty match, but I’m through,” she said. “She’s a player that doesn’t give you any rhythm. She’s serving at 200 kilometres per hour, so when it’s on, it’s difficult. “But in the second set, her first serve percentage dropped, and that made it easier for me to start the rallies.”

However, the 21-year-old belatedly came good, ignoring nine aces from her opponent, who also sent over seven double-faults. Wozniacki broke six times on her way to victory and a meeting with Australian Jarmila Gajdosova.

Sixth seed Andy Roddick was sent packing by South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the men’s draw at the China Open on Monday after an unavailing series of last gasp match point saves.

“I didn’t serve very well. It was unacceptable,” Roddick told a tense post-match news conference.

The 29-year-old American then snapped at a Chinese reporter who asked him if he was considering retiring.

“I think you should retire,” he said before abruptly leaving the media room.

In other first-round matches, Zheng Jie earned a welcome home win as she beat Italian Alberta Brianti 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, while Russian Maria Kirilenko, the 2005 winner, beat German Julia Goerges 7-6 (11/9), 6-3.Virginie Razzano of France reached the second round by beating Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-2, 6-3. (Agencies)

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