Published September 30, 2012
| Sports Network
Beijing, China – Li Na topped Francesca Schiavone in the featured first-round match Sunday at the China Open, while Sara Errani was forced to withdraw because of a thigh injury.
The seventh-seeded Li posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over an unseeded Schiavone in a matchup of former French Open champs. Li beat Schiavone for the 2011 title at Roland Garros after the Italian veteran had won the 2010 crown.
Errani, this year's French Open runner-up to Maria Sharapova, pulled out of her match Sunday against fellow Italian Camila Giorgi in the first set. The qualifier was ahead 5-4 when the sixth seed called it quits.
Three other seeded players were bounced on Sunday, as Maria Kirilenko, Roberta Vinci and Lucie Safarova were all eliminated. Ekaterina Makarova knocked off the 13th-seeded Kirilenko, 6-3, 6-3, while Spanish qualifier Lourdes Dominguez Lino outlasted the 15th-seeded Vinci, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, and Romania's Monica Niculescu thumped the 16th-seeded Safarova, 6-2, 6-0.
Ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 pounding of Serbian qualifier Bojana Jovanovski, while other winners Sunday included former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and rising British star Laura Robson.
Jankovic dumped Germany's Andrea Petkovic, 6-2, 6-4, while Robson entered the main draw through qualifying and ousted Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-4, 6-4. The 18-year-old Robson made a name for herself at the U.S. Open by downing Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Li before exiting in the fourth round with a loss to Samantha Stosur. She then reached the final at Guangzhou earlier this month.
Julia Goerges of Germany went the distance to topple American Vania King, China's Peng Shuai topped Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets and pair of qualifiers continued to win. Russian Elena Vesnina made short work of German Mona Barthel, 6-1, 6-1, and Ayumi Morita of Japan cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Spanish wild card Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.
The first round will conclude on Monday with matches for top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova. The top-seeded Azarenka will take on Frenchwoman Alize Cornet and the second-seeded Sharapova will meet Romania's Simona Halep.
Second-round play will also commence with fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova facing Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.
All of the world's top-10 players are on hand in Beijing, with the exception of 2004 champ Serena Williams, who pulled out on Friday due to an illness.
The 2012 China Open champion will enjoy a windfall of $848,000.