Djokovic, Nadal make super starts

Somdev, Bhupathi exit; Serena given a workout

Djokovic, Nadal make super starts

World number one Novak Djokovic and the man who can dislodge him from the top spot by next week, Rafael Nadal, kicked off their China Open campaign with straight-set victories on Tuesday.

Defending champion Djokovic needed just 54 minutes to crush his Czech opponent Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-3 without hitting a single double fault in a dominant first round display.

The Serb, aiming for his fourth China Open title in five years after missing the 2011 tournament through injury, improved his perfect tournament record to 15-0 after converting four of his eight break points against Rosol.

"I didn't want to under-estimate my opponent knowing that he had few big wins in his career and he has a big serve," Djokovic told the ATP website referring to his opponent who had caused one of the biggest upsets in the sport when he beat Nadal at Wimbledon 15 months ago.

Nadal had to work longer to subdue Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-4 in 90 minutes at Beijing's National Tennis Stadium.

The Spaniard, who needs to reach the final in Beijing to reclaim the number one ranking, had no problem bagging the first set but Giraldo put up a stiffer resistance in the second before going down. Nadal meets Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany next.

Somdev exits

Somdev Devvarman put up a valiant fight before going down to World No 31 Fernando Verdasco while Mahesh Bhupathi yet again stumbled in the doubles first round as the two Indians bowed out.

The 97th-ranked Somdev saved as many as nine break chances, but lost the battle 6-7 (6-8), 3-6 in one hour and 34 minutes.

In the doubles event, Bhupathi yet again failed to cross the first round hurdle for the third successive time as he and his Swedish partner Robert Lindstedt suffered a 3-6, 3-6 defeat at the hands of Djokovic and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

Serena progresses

Top seed Serena Williams stumbled her way into the third round. The world number one appeared agitated at times during her 6-4, 7-5 victory over Italian Francesca Schiavone, shouting at herself over lost points.

The American only showed rare moments of her trademark power-play, gaining the upper hand in the first set via a mistake from her opponent, who double-faulted on set point.

The top seed Williams was forced to become more aggressive in the second set after her serve was broken in the first game by Schiavone, Italy’s first Grand Slam winner, at Roland Garros in 2010, and the current world number 50.

Her sister Venus, meanwhile, crashed out 6-1, 6-2 to Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki. The 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro defeated American Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 to book her place in the third round.

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