Serena battles past gritty Li Na

Russias Igor Kunitsyn dumps Somdev; Isner shocks Benjamin Becker

Serena Williams exults after defeating China’s Li Na in the first round of the Stanford Classic on Tuesday. Reuters

Top seed Serena jumped out to a 6-3, 5-2 lead behind some razor-sharp groundstrokes before the hard-hitting Li fought back to force a tiebreaker. However, the 11-times grand slam champion showed more ambition in the tiebreaker and secured the contest when Li hit a backhand into the net.

"She's really good and keeps improving over time," Serena said of her Chinese opponent. "I was a little off. I'd rather be a little off now and peak during the second week of the US Open."

Two former Stanford champions were beaten on Tuesday, last year's winner Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada losing 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to Daniela Hantuchova and 2007 champ Anna Chakvetadze was beaten 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 by Maria Kirilenko.

Australia's Samantha Stosur upset number six seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-3 while fourth seed Jelena Jankovic cruised past American Angela Haynes 6-3, 6-1.
Eighth seed Marion Bartoli of France overcame Ayumi Morita of Japan 7-6, 6-3.

Somdev, Becker ousted

Big-serving American John Isner produced the first upset at the LA Open with a 7-6, 7-6 victory over seventh-seeded German Benjamin Becker in the opening round on Tuesday.

Eighth-seeded Russian Marat Safin was in early trouble against American Robby Ginepri before recovering to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Sixth-seeded American Sam Querrey thumped Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-0 in the day's final match.  Fifth-seeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn eased into the second round with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over India’s Somdev Devvarman and Argentina's Leonardo Mayer crushed French qualifier Josselin Ouanna 6-2, 6-3.  In other matches, Latvian Ernests Gulbis brushed aside Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-5, 6-2 and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, beat Canada's Frank Dancevic 7-6, 6-3.  Top-seeded German Tommy Haas, tournament champion in 2004 and 2006, will launch his bid for a third title at the hardcourt event when he takes on American wildcard Jesse Levine in the second round on Wednesday.


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