Two players who could make a statement at the 2013 China Open advanced in straight sets on day one. Young American Sloane Stephens has made a name for herself with prodigious play in the Majors. Outside of the Big 4 events is where Sloane still has room to shine. Coming off a tough three set loss to rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, Sloane opened her campaign in Beijing with a 6-4 6-4 win over another Canadian, Aleksandra Wozniak. Stephens could face Bouchard again in the second round if Eugenie, who came through qualifying, wins her first round match against Magdalena Rybarikova.
Another player seeking to improve recent results is Sara Errani. In her last 5 tournaments, she’s been 1 match and done 3 times, along with 2 matches and done in the others. That is far below the ability of the #5 seed. Kirsten Flipkens gave Errani a tough test in the first set before Sara was able to prevail, 7-6 (3) 6-1. Although on paper her second round match, Doi or Soler-Espinosa, doesn’t look as challenging, Sara can’t take anything for granted. If she should advance past the second round, there are potentially tough match ups deeper in her side of the draw, including a potential 3rd round match with 2013 Toray Pan Pacific Open champion Petra Kvitova.
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NOVAK DJOKOVIC (played exhibition match with Li Na)
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (back to brunette, I like it!)