Davenport, Mauresmo Advance in Beijing; Hingis Upset

Posted on September 20, 2007

BEIJING, China - It was a busy day at the China Open on Wednesday, featuring the first four second round matches and the last two first round matches. By the end of play the home crowd had a lot to cheer about, as one of their own, Peng Shuai, pulled off the first major upset of the Tier II tournament.

In their first encounter at the US Open just over a year ago, Peng won the opening set against Martina Hingis before eventually succumbing in three sets; but in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon, the second half of the story was much different.

The players put on a serving display in the early goings, neither one losing more than two points per service game. But that all changed in the 12th game of the match with Hingis serving at 5-6, as Peng's powerful returning got the better of the No.5 seed, and she was broken for the set almost routinely at 15.

Peng, who hits with two hands off both sides, extended her winning streak to seven games in a row by racing to a 5-0 lead in the second set. After Hingis held one more time, the Chinese served it out at love to complete a 75 61 victory.

While Hingis' 2007 woes continued (she has now lost before the quarterfinals at every one of her last eight events), Peng continued to impress at the top event in her home nation, making the quarters for the third consecutive year. Beating the No.18-ranked Hingis was also her second Top 20 win of the season, having beaten a No.16-ranked Patty Schnyder on the clay of Charleston in April.

Two other seeds, No.3 seed Amélie Mauresmo and No.6 seed Agnes Szavay, had a much better day. Gracing the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour for the first time since Wimbledon due to an adductor injury, Mauresmo showed no signs of rust during a 62 62 win over Romanian upstart Ioana Raluca Olaru, while Szavay came back from a 4-2 first set hole to beat Dominika Cibulkova, 76(4) 64.

Lucky loser Maria Emilia Salerni was the fourth woman to reach the quarterfinals, defeating qualifier Abigail Spears, 62 75. Salerni was a late replacement into the bracket for top seed and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who had to pull out of the event before taking the court due to a left abdominal strain.

"This is one of my favorite tournaments - it's an amazing event and I always love to come here," Kuznetsova commented. "But when I got up this morning, my abdomen was getting worse and worse, although I got treatment yesterday."

Davenport, Paszek move into second round

The incredible return to action of new mother Lindsay Davenport continued in the Chinese capital, as the three-time Grand Slam champion - as well as last week's Bali champion - routed countrywoman and qualifier Julie Ditty, 60 62.

"I was really surprised - I could never have imagined that would happen," said Davenport on her comeback performance in Bali. "When I was coming on this trip I thought I was ready but you never know until you go out and play tournaments. I was a bit nervous but it ended up being such a great week. And I'm looking forward to hopefully keeping it going here at the China Open."

Austrian phenom Tamira Paszek was the last player to pass the first round in Beijing, moving past American veteran Jill Craybas, 63 63.

The remaining four quarterfinal spots will all be determined Thursday. Among the players in action are high seeds Jelena Jankovic and Elena Dementieva as well as the unseeded Davenport, who will face No.8 seed Eleni Daniilidou.

In doubles, No.4 seeds Sun Shengnan and Sun Tiantian became the first seeded team to fall, losing to Alina Jidkova and Caroline Wozniacki 10-7 in a match tie-break. The Top 3-seeded teams all won their first round matches on Tuesday. (WTA)