Madrid: It was a bad day for two of three Chinese tennis players at Madrid Masters as both Li Na and Zheng Jie lost their first round matches.
Zheng Jie, ranked 49th in the world, lost 2-6, 3-6 to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday. Jie never really got into the game against a player who had won six of their seven previous meetings. Although she had triumphed the last time they had played, she was unable to repeat the feat, reports Xinhua.
Jie was able to put a good percentage of her first serves in but Kuznetsova had few problems returning and took half of her service points.
Chinese No.1 Li, seeded fifth, lost 3-6, 2-6 to 18-year-old American Madison Keys, ranked 62nd. Li, who was hoping to warm up for Roland Garros, struggled to cope with Keys' powerful serve while failing to get her own serve working.
The fact Madrid is at an altitude helps powerful servers as the ball is considered to move faster through the air and the Chinese struggled to adapt to the conditions.
Keys claimed the first set 6-3 and quickly raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set with two service breaks. Li pulled back one service break and then held to make it 3-2.
But Keys held her nerve at a moment when her inexperience could have been a factor and then broke Li Na's serve again to move into a 5-2 lead before serving out to take the match in one hour and two minutes.
Meanwhile reigning champion and top seed Serena Williams overcame a slow start before running out a 7-6(5), 6-1 winner against Yulia Putinseva.