The inaugural International Tier $500,000 Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open in southern China has its home player, Na Li as its number one seed, plus a whole host of the WTA’s top players to showcase.
In second round play on Wednesday afternoon, Li Na took on the 129th ranked American Julia Cohen after having taken out Mandy Minella of Luxembourg in the first round. Cohen had beaten Nina Bratchikova in her first round match. Even though Li won in straight sets 6-4 6-3, this seemingly uneven matchup was not as easy as the score suggests for the Chinese number one, who is currently the number 7 ranked player on the WTA list. In a match that lasted more than an hour and a half, Li served five double faults to Cohen’s two, but overall had better stats in all areas except her second serve.
Li will play no.8 seed Serbia´s Bojana Jovanovski next, who eliminated Ying-Ying Duan 6-3 6-1.
Number two seed Marion Bartoli took on the young qualifier from Switzerland Stephanie Voegele, ranked at 92. On paper this match also looked to be a cakewalk for Bartoli, now ranked just outside the top ten at number 11 and who played near perfect tennis in her opening match of the season against Wing-Yau Chan of Hong Kong. Vogele eliminated the Hungarian Timea Babos in her first round match. This matchup lasted one and three quarter hours, with Bartoli eventually winning in straight sets 7-5 6-4, but her serve statistics were poor, with 3 aces and 9 double faults to Voegele’s 6 aces and only 2 doubles. The Swiss player also had better stats on break points won, but overall Bartoli’s tenacity and experience won out in the end.
Next up for Bartoli will be 5th seeded Czech player Klara Zakopalova after she overcame Ukrainian Elina Svitolina also in straight sets 6-4 6-3.