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Spotlight On Beijing 2008: Going for Tennis Gold

After the pageantry of the opening ceremonies on Friday which was highlighted by tennis stars Roger Federer and Chilean Fernando Gonzalez carrying the flag for their countries, today marked the initial session of full competition. But the headline turned out to be the weather as most of the matches were rained out.

American James Blake seeded 8th defeated Australian Chris Guiccione 6-3. 7-6; while Russian Nikolay Davydenko took care of Latvian contender Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2. Fernando Gonzalez, Czech Tomas Berdych and Argentine Guillermo Canas also marched on to the next round.

The women’s draw was handed a major disappointment as French Open champion and top seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia withdrew due to a thumb injury. Ivanovic has been battling with this issue since Wimbledon. Despite stating that she will be in New York, Ivanovic’s participation at the U.S. Open is up in the air. Italian Francesca Schiavone and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki had no trouble dismissing their opponents. Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova also advanced.

On day two, Federer taking on Russian Dmitry Tursunov is perhaps the most interesting match up. Other key players on tap include Rafael Nadal, Serena and Venus Williams, Serbian Novak Djokovic and the hottest female on tour Russian Dinara Safina. Since the surface in Beijing is a hardcourt, it should present a good challenge for these competitors as they prepare for the U.S. Open.

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