Slam winners hit wall in Beijing

Updated: 2011-10-05 08:09

By Tang Yue (China Daily)

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Slam winners hit wall in Beijing

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns a shot against Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia during their second-round match in the China Open at the National Tennis Center in Beijing on Tuesday. Wozniacki won 6-2, 6-3. [Photo/Agencies]

US Open champion Stosur beaten by Russian; Zvonareva advances

BEIJING - This year's Grand Slam winners seem cursed at the China Open.

After French Open winner Chinese Li Na and Wimbledon champion Czech Petra Kvitova suffered quick exits in Beijing, newly-crowned US Open winner Samantha Stosur of Australia was upset by Russia's Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in the second round on Tuesday.

However, Stosur, who also lost her first match after the US Open to the Russian in three sets at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo last week, shrugged off the link between major titles and those ensuing losses.

Slam winners hit wall in Beijing
"I'm not going to answer for those two other girls, but I've only played two tournaments since winning the US Open, so I don't think it's the end of the world. I've had the two results that I've had. Obviously, I want it to be a lot better than what it has been, but I guess it's one of those things," she said.

"It's not easy to keep backing up and we are at the end of the year. I guess I've played the same opponent two weeks in a row and she's managed to play very well and I've maybe been a little bit under my best. That makes for a really tough match. She's got the better of those tight third sets the past two times."

Meanwhile, her opponent said it is natural for new Grand Slam winners to struggle after the big victory.

"I think it's tough. When you win a Grand Slam, it's tough to play the following tournaments. You want to still feel that you're a champion, and you want to win again and again," said Kirilenko, who lost to the Australian in the round of 16 in New York.

"I think for her Tokyo was more difficult, it was her first tournament after winning the US Open. I defeated her there and she must have wanted to win here. But I did a better job today.

"Still, she has had good results. She won a Grand Slam. I think it's the best dream you can have in tennis - to win a Grand Slam."

Before Stosur's loss, local favorite Li, who became the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, lost her opener in Beijing against qualifier Romanian Monia Niculescu in straight sets while Kvitova was defeated by unseeded Swedish Sofia Arvidsson in the second round.

Slam winners hit wall in Beijing

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a shot during her match against Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, Oct 4, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

However, for Russia's Vera Zvonareva there is a misconception that the Slam winners are struggling.

"If you look at their results the previous year, they played a lot of maybe semifinals and finals as well, but they also had a couple losses in the first or second rounds. It happens, and it happens to everybody," said the two-time Grand Slam runner-up.

"But it's just that people saw them winning a Grand Slam and now expect them to win every week. Unfortunately, it can't happen all the time because I think the level of the game is very high and there are a lot of players that can play very good tennis," the third seed said after defeating Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the second round.

"In order to win all the time, you have to play your best tennis all the time. We're all human beings. It's very tough to stay that consistent throughout 10 months out of 12. So you will have ups and downs."

China Daily