MADRID, May 5 (Xinhua) -- It was a bad day for two of the three Chinese players in the Madrid Tennis Masters this Sunday as both Li Na and Zheng Jie lost their first round matches.
Zheng Jie, ranked 49th in the world, lost 6-2, 6-3 to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova although her defeat cannot really be taken as a surprise, given that Kuznetsova is ranked seven places above her.
Zheng Jie never really got into the game against a player who had won six of their seven previous meetings, and although she had triumphed the last time they had played, she was unable to repeat the feat. Although she was able to put a good percentage of her first serves in, Kuznetsova had few problems returning and took half of her service points.
If Zheng's defeat cannot be considered a surprise, Li Na's most certainly has to be. The Chinese number one, who was fifth seed in Madrid and who came to Spain on the back of her recent appearance in the final in Stuttgart, lost 6-3, 6-2 to 18-year-old American, Madison Keys who is ranked 62nd in the world.
Li Na, who was hoping to warm up for the French Open at Roland Garros during the week in Madrid where she reached the quarter-finals last year, struggled to cope with Keys' powerful serve, while failing to get her own serve working.
The fact Madrid is at altitude helps powerful servers as the ball is considered to move faster through the air, and Li Na 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 Na pulled back one service break and then held to make it 3-2 in the second set ,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.
The final Chinese representative, Peng Shuai, will play Christina Michale for a place in the second round in which the winner is likely to face Maria Sharapova.
Meanwhile reigning champion and number one seed, Serena Williams overcame a slow start before running out a 7-6 (5), 6-1 winner against Yulia Putinseva.