Murray, Soderling struggle through

Saturday, 9 October 2010 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

World number four Andy Murray and two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling survived second-round scares at the China Open on Thursday as they moved one step closer to a semi-final showdown.

Murray, the second seed, struggled past Spain’s Albert Montanes in two hard-fought sets, 7-5 6-3, in smoggy conditions so bad that organisers were forced to turn on the lights on the stadium court in the mid-afternoon. The 23-year-old Scot showed some grit against Montanes, coming back from a break down in both sets. Murray served up nine aces during the match, and sealed the victory with a service winner.

Soderling - who survived a scare from Spain’s Tommy Robredo in his first match - battled for nearly two hours to defeat another member of the game’s Spanish armada, Nicolas Almagro, in the second round, 7-5 4-6 6-3. The 26-year-old Swede, ranked fifth in the world but the third seed in Beijing due to the absence of dominant duo Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, used his powerful serve to get him out of several jams, bombing a total of 22 aces.

In other second-round play, Spain’s David Ferrer, the eighth seed, bounced back to defeat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun in three sets. He will face Soderling in the quarter-finals.

Wozniacki suffers scare, Djokovic fights through haze

BEIJING (Reuters) - World number one Caroline Wozniacki began life at the top with an injury scare Friday, while champion Novak Djokovic said players should have access to oxygen tanks on court after yet another smoggy day in Beijing.

Ecstasy turned to agony for Wozniacki less than 24 hours after she was crowned world number one when she crumpled to the ground clutching her left knee in tears while leading Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 7-6 3-1.

The 20-year-old overstretched as she smashed a backhanded return but after taking an injury time out to get her knee strapped, she showed her champion's instinct to reach the semi-finals by shunting aside Ivanovic 7-6 6-4. Air quality was so bad at the Olympic tennis center for the third day running that top seed Djokovic offered a solution to the problem.

"A box of oxygen or something on the bench would be great, but we don't have it. I guess I will have to get used to it," he said after securing a semi-final place with a 6-3 6-2 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon.