Top seed Serena Williams beat Francesca Schiavone in a tight two-setter on Tuesday at the China Open in Beijing. Williams started the first set with three successive aces to hold serve and then earned a double break point in the following game, but Schiavone held and they saved their serves until Serena broke Schiavone in the end to finish the first set 6-4. In the second, the Italian took the lead and even got three set points at 5-3, but the world No.1 Serena saved them all and closed the match after one hour and 47 minutes with her 10 aces against Schiavone’s 3, 6-4 7-5.
It was their ninth career meeting. Previously they faced each other twice this year, in Toronto and at the US Open when Williams eliminated Schiavone 6-3 6-2 and 6-0 6-1 respectively. With today’s victory Serena is leading in their head-to-head encounters 7-2.
In the third round Serena Williams will meet 18th-ranked Maria Kirilenko of Russia, who eliminated world No.48 Urszula Radwanska of Poland in today’s only unseeded match in one hour and 40 minutes, 6-4 6-4. This was Kirilenko’s second victory this year over the younger Radwanska sister and until today they had been tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head encounters.
Tuesday was a perfect day for the seeded players in the second round. Seed No.6 Caroline Wozniacki for the fifth time defeated 44th-ranked Monica Niculescu, 6-3 6-1, seed No.11 Sloane Stephens beat 36th-ranked Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 1-6 6-4, avenging her recent Tokyo loss to Bouchard, fourth seed Li Na blitzed 39th-ranked Bojana Jovanovski 6-0 6-1, just like seed No.13 Sabine Lisicki blew away Venus Williams 6-1 6-2 in just 53 minutes.
Ninth seed Petra Kvitova eliminated Varvara Lepchenko 2-6 6-2 6-0, seed No.7 Angelique Kerber defeated 41st-ranked Laura Robson 6-1 6-2, tenth-seeded Roberta Vinci beat Zhang Shuai 3-6 6-3 6-1 and 12th-seeded Carla Suarez-Navarro eliminated Lauren Davis 6-4 6-2. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)