Hantuchova loses, Li enters second round

Tokyo, January 30:

China’s Beijing Olympic hopeful Li Na got off to a flying start with a convincing victory over Lilia Osterloh in the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Japan on Tuesday. The Chinese sixth seed pulled off a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 victory over the American qualifier.

But eighth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia became the first seed to fall when she crashed to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Italy’s Roberta Vinchi, while fifth seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia outclassed American Shenay Perry 6-4, 6-2.

World number one Maria Sharapova and other top three seeds — Swiss Martina Hingis, defending champion Elena Dementieva of Russia and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia — received first-round byes.

Zagreb Open

ZAGREB: Second-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus advanced to the second round of the Zagreb Open after beating Florent Serra of France 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Baghdatis had to save two set points in the second set at 4-5.

He then rallied from 4-1 down in the tiebreaker.

Robin Soderling of Sweden, No 3-seed, escaped a closer match but No 5 Fernando Verdasco of Spain lost. Soderling was two points from losing when he trailed Gilles Simon of France 5-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. But the Swede came back to win 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4). Verdasco led Marc Gicquel of France in a second-set tiebreaker 4-1, and had a set point at 7-6. But Gicquel put away Verdasco 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic won the last three games to defeat Bjorn Phau of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Phau served for the match at 5-4 in the last set. — AP

Movistar Open

CHILE: Oscar Hernandez of Spain defeated three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) at the Movistar Open. Fifth-seeded Luis Horna of Peru beat Alessio Di Mauro of Italy 6-1, 6-2 and Mariano Zabaleta downed Juan Pablo Guzman 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Argentine clash.

Kuerten needed a wild-card entry in the tournament because his ranking was well outside 1,000. The former No 1 will meet Spain’s Alberto Montanez in his next round-robin match. — AP