Sony Open No. 2 seed Li Namade it to the third round without striking a ball on Friday when her opponent Alisa Kleybanova pulled out of the tournament due to a viral illness. Kleybanova, is making a comeback from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Kleybanova wasn’t the only withdrawal on the day for the women. No. 6 Simona Halep pulled out before her match due to a right toe injury.
2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska stopped Romina Oprandi 6-0, 6-4.
“First of all, I started very well,” the No. 3 seed said. “She started to play much better in the second set and we had a lot of breaks and long games – it was tricky, and I was getting a bit nervous.
“But I was happy I could finish this match in two sets today.”
Other seeded winners on the day included (10) Dominika Cibulkova over Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-2, (11) Caroline Wozniacki had to fight her opponent and the crowd when she topped Monica Puig 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, (15) Carla Suarez Navarro beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-4, 6-1 and (17) Sloane Stephens (17) won over Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3.
American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off the upset of the day on the ladies side of the draw by ousting No. 7 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2). Other surprises included Barbora Zahlavova Strycova who topped 13 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, Elina Svitolina stunned 21st seed Eugenie Bouchard 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, Ajla Tomljanovic defeated (30) Garbine Muguruza and young American Madison Keys stopped (31) Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2.
“I’m really happy about it,” Keys said. “I mean, I think I served well. I think that really helped me today.
The next challenge for Keys will be No. 2 seed Li Na.
“I mean, she’s a great player. She’s obviously done a lot in her career, so really happy to get through that one.”
“It’s such a good experience,” Keys commenting on the match-up in the third round.
“She’s a great player. She just won the Australian Open so she’s obviously doing well.
“Yeah, just a good experience and excited to go play.”
Former No. 1 and 29th seed Venus Williams moved on by beating Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3 in the night session.
For the 33-year-old who is playing her 15th Sony Open it’s her first match since winning the Dubai title last month.
“I have been working hard since then, and I feel really confident, you know, in every situation I’m in on the court.
“So I think that, you know, it was a big help for me in Dubai.”
“She’s competitive, a new player,” Williams said about playing Schmiedlova. “You never know what their game is really going to be like. I’d never even seen her play.
“But it’s obviously great to be in the next round.” She’ll play in the third round against Casey Dellacqua.