In the first match of the women’s part of the joint China Open 2012 in Beijing, the number 13 seed Maria Kirilenko, who has made a dramatic rise in the WTA rankings to number 14, took on her countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova at the national Tennis Stadium. At number 14 in the rankings, Kirilenko is Russia’s second ranked player behind Maria Sharapova, while Makarova who is ranked at 22, is their fifth ranked player. Makarova, a leftie, when on form is a formidable opponent even for the game’s top women, as she has a great serve and powerful groundies, while Kirilenko has recently found stability and consistency in her game, so it was a surprise when the lower ranked of the two focused on her game and came through in a relatively easy match, winning 6-3 6-3 in one and a half hours.
At the same time, on the Moon Court, the German Mona Barthel who has a ranking of 34, came up against another Russian, Elena Vesnina, who is ranked at 74 and had to qualify for this tournament. In yet another surprise result, it was Vesnina who came out with all guns blazing against a player who really hits the ball hard and has beaten some of the game’s top players recently; and won easily, 6-1 6-1 in just over an hour. Vesnina will next meet the Austrian, Tamira Paszek, who beat the lucky loser Olga Govortsova on Saturday.
In other matches played on Sunday which involved seeds, number 5 Marion Bartoli defeated Bojana Jovanovski; number 6 Sara Errani had to retire injured against Camilla Giorgi; number 7 Na Li beat Francesca Sciavone; number 16 Lucie Safarova lost to Monica Niculescu; and number 15 Roberta Vinci lost in a marathon three setter 6-7 7-6 6-2 to the qualifier Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
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