Sharapova wins 1st round, Ivanovic into second round at China Open

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Maria Sharapova is past her first hurdle in Beijing, while Ana Ivanovic entered third round of 2012 China Open after an unbelievable comeback.

World no. 2 Sharapova played two up-and-down sets against unseeded Romanian Simona Halep in the first round of Beijing. She had a positive start by achieving a two-break cushion for a 3-0 lead, yet she wasted the advantage by 4-all. However, a third break gave her an opportunity to serve the set out in the twelfth game. She needed to avert one more re-break chance before going one set up. While this year’s French Open winner was mostly in control of the second set, Halep kept coming back after suffering serve losses. Again, the set was tied at 5-all when the Russian stole a decisive third break, which she confirmed for a 7-5, 7-5 victory. She is meeting another Romanian Sorana Cirstea in round two.

Former top-ranked Serbian player Ivanovic had to show some really cool nerves to escape a second round Beijing exit. On the other hand, Varvara Lepchenko of USA will feel herself very unlucky to let Ivanovic save a double match point in the set number two. The American turned around the first one and was holding a 5-3 lead in the second one. She was a safe bet for a victory with two match points in her hands in the next game, yet Ivanovic avoided losing both serve and match. A giant momentum shift enabled her to grab two consecutive breaks and level the score. 19th-ranked Lepchenko could not really recover from a second set shock. She dropped all of her service games in the deciding set, while 11th-seeded Serbian converted her second match ball for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 triumph.

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