Chinese stars advance at LA tournament

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Zheng Jie, the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, and compatriot Li Na reached the second round of the 700,000-dollar WTA Los Angeles Championships on Tuesday.

Zheng, who reached last year's Wimbledon semi-finals, outlasted Ukraine qualifier Olga Savchuk 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 while Li advanced when Japan's Ayumi Morita retired after losing the first eight games of their first-round match.

Japan's veteran 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm was also eliminated, falling to Germany's Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 7-5.

Daniela Hantuchova rallied to oust American Melanie Oudin 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2. The Slovakian booked a second-round date against world number one and defending champion Dinara Safina of Russia.

Safina, this year's Australian Open and French Open runner-up, defeated Italy's Flavia Pennetta in last year's Los Angeles final.