Safina and Venus knocked out out of China Open

BEIJING, (Reuters) – World number one Dinara Safina  was upset 7-5 7-6 by local wild card Zhang Shuai in the second  round of the China Open yesterday, leaving Serena Williams one  victory away from reclaiming top spot in the rankings.  

Serena’s sister Venus, the world number three, also had a  bad day, losing to Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for  the second week in a row, this time 3-6 6-1 6-4.  

Serena just needs to beat Ekaterina Makarova in her second  round match at the Olympic tennis centre on Tuesday to move up  from number two after Safina crumbled in the face of a fierce  onslaught from the 226th ranked Zhang.  

Safina, who lost her opening match at last week’s Pan  Pacific Open to a qualifier, made 20 unforced errors and 12  double faults before leaving the centre court in tears. Her  post-match news conference was cancelled. 
   
 Bad losses  

“I’m just having some bad losses right now,” the Russian  said in a statement released by organisers.  

“So many matches that are very close, ones that I should  win, having set points or match points every time. It’s very  disappointing. I would like to take a break now, and I’m very  upset with myself.”  

Zhang, 20, had won the first WTA main draw match of her  career in the first round on Sunday.  

“I wasn’t thinking about the result, I was just thinking  about learning as much as I could from her,” she said. “She was  not on her best form, she was impatient and made lots of  mistakes.”  

Pavlyuchenkova, the world number 39 dominated the final two  sets of the match to claim her second win over seven-times grand  slam winner Venus after last Monday’s upset in Tokyo.  

“She played really well, unfortunately sometimes I made  errors too soon in the play,” Williams, 29, said in a brief news  conference.  

Williams began well but got an inkling of the fight that was  to come when her 18-year-old opponent took her to six deuces as  she was serving for the first set.  

“She started way     aggressive today. She wanted to kill me, I guess,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I had nothing to lose. I just  tried to move her around as much as I could, just hit as hard as  I could in the court and just enjoy the match.”

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