Williams, Li into second round at China Open

Beijing, Sep 30 (IANS) World No.1 Serena Williams and local-favourite Li Na both powered into the second round with easy wins while third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was given an early scare at the China Open tennis here.

Williams, a former China Open champion, was barely troubled by her Russian opponent Elena Vesnina, needing only an hour and 25 minutes to wrap up the opening round win Sunday, reports Xinhua.

"She serves really well, I just had to be ready for everything," said Williams, who broke Vesnina five times in the match.

The American had a stellar season winning nine titles, including two Grand Slams, and she has secured the WTA year-end No.1 ranking with still two months' competitions remaining on the calendar.

"I definitely feel like I have a target. Whether I'm No.1 or No.10, I feel like my opponents lift their game against me. I think it's good. And I also think that's one of the reasons it helped me to be able to develop as well," added Williams.

Chinese No.1 Li also had an easy time in the opening round, playing against her long-time friend Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia. The world number five used an hour and 30 minutes to defeat Hantuchova 6-0, 6-4 .

"I think I have pretty good start of the match until 4-love in the second set. But at this level I can not do this, to relax a little bit. You can see the score in second set. If I was relaxing, I just gave my opponent more chances to come back," said Li.

Radwanska, however, battled for more than two hours to make it past Stefanie Voegele 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

After dropping the first set, the Polish tennis star faced some tricky moments early on in the next two sets.

She faced break points in her first two service games of the second set, and actually lost serve in the first game of the third. But she stayed cool, calm and collected through it all and got her nose in front again every time, eventually making it past the Swiss in two hours and 14 minutes.

"The first match is always tricky, especially because each week we have different conditions, different courts and different balls," Radwanska said afterwards.

"I needed this match just to feel the rhythm."

Matches

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