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Roddick crashes as Serena moves on up in Beijing

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46

Defending champion Andy Roddick made a shock early exit from the China Open after being humbled 6-2 6-4 in his first round encounter with qualifier Lukasz Kubot.

The No.3 seed obliterated his racket at the end of the defeat against his Polish opponent, who is ranked No.143 in the world.

“I was just trying stuff out there and nothing seemed to be working that well,” said Roddick afterwards.

There was better news for Rafael Nadal but only just, as the Spaniard edged a close encounter to overcome Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 3-6 6-4.

The Spaniard had not played since his US Open semi-final defeat at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro because of an abdominal strain, but has never lost before in Beijing.

“I didn’t play my best tennis, but I’m very happy with how I played in the last four games, very aggressive with the forehand and going to the net,” said Nadal. “My body is okay today, and tomorrow, I hope.”

Fernando Verdasco fought back from a set down to beat Robby Ginepri 6-7 6-1 6-2, while Fernando Gonzalez, James Blake and Ivan Ljubicic also booked their second-round spots.

Chilean Gonzalez overcame David Ferrer 7-5 6-4, while Ljubicic beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 4-6 6-1. Blake needed three sets to beat Florian Mayer 6-3 3-6 6-3, while Marat Safin dispatched Jose Acasuso 6-4 6-2.

Serena Williams reclaimed the world No.1 ranking with a 6-3 6-2 victory against Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

The 28-year-old takes over from Dinara Safina after the Russian lost to Chinese wildcard Zhang Shuai on Monday.

“Obviously I’m happy to be there because I’ve worked so hard this year to get there,” said Williams. “I think I’ve earned it.”

Defending champion Jelena Jankovic crashed out, losing 4-6 7-5 6-2 to Peng Shuai having played after retiring in the Japan Open final on Sunday with a shoulder injury.

The Serbian started well, taking the first set, but simply could not take the strain as she served for the match, allowing Peng to break and take the second set 5-7 before the local heroine closed out the third.

“It was very difficult and I couldn’t really play my best tennis,” said Jankovic. “Despite that I had a chance to win in two sets but she took it to a third and my arm just didn’t hold up. It’s very disappointing.”

Maria Sharapova produced a sensational fightback from 5-2 down in the third set to beat No.9 seed Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-7 7-5.

Sharapova, who is up to No.15 in the world rankings after claiming her first title since returning from injury in Tokyo last week, looked set for a second-round exit, but won five successive games to complete an amazing turnaround.

“The match isn’t over until we shake hands,” said Sharapova afterwards. “I realised that I didn’t want to be going home – I’m not leaving China that soon – so I just went forward and I kept being aggressive and stayed positive and that gets you a long way.”

Elena Dementieva, who won Olympic gold in Beijing last year, secured a 6-4 6-3 victory over Hungary’s Melinda Czink and faces home favourite Li Na in the last 16.

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