After qualifying wins, Dudi ousted in 1st round in Tokyo

Rafa begins title defense with easy first-round win; Stosur out, Wozniacki through in Beijing.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI at China Open 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI at China Open 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dudi Sela has still yet to progress past the second round of an ATP Tour tournament this year, after falling to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat to Tatsuma Ito in the first round of the Japan Open on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Israeli, who had to come through two qualifying matches to reach the main draw in Tokyo, was knocked out in the opening round of a tournament for the ninth time this year, suffering his 13th defeat in 18 tour matches in 2011.
Sela fell seven places in the world rankings to number 102 on Monday, dropping out of the top 100 for the first time since May. But he will be hoping to end his year on a high when he returns to the Challenger circuit in which he has already taken three titles in 2011.
In other action, Rafael Nadal overpowered qualifier Go Soeda 6-3, 6-2, as he began the defense of his Japan Open title in a blur of swashbuckling winners on Tuesday.
The top seed produced some dazzling shot-making under floodlights in Tokyo, taking the first set with a jaw-dropping backhand lob at full stretch with the Japanese Soeda marooned at the net.
Nadal, sweat dripping from his purple T-shirt, kept his foot on the gas in the second and the Spaniard teed up match point with a superb running forehand down the line.
The world number two swiftly ended proceedings, ripping another forehand deep into the corner to trigger a stampede as fans rushed from their seats for the chance of an autograph.
“It was important to win but I need to spend more time on court,” said Nadal, returning to Japan after helping Spain reach the Davis Cup final.
“The balls felt a little bit heavy so it was difficult to hit my top spin,” the 10-time grand slam champion told reporters. “But maybe it will get better playing day matches.”
Nadal next faces big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic who beat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 in his first ATP match since undergoing hip surgery after Wimbledon.
“Milos will be a dangerous opponent for me,” said Nadal, chasing a 47th career title. “He has one of the best serves on the tour. It’s a big advantage for him.”
In Beijing, US Open champion Samantha Stosur lost in the second round of the China Open on Tuesday, beaten for the second time in a week by Russian Maria Kirilenko.
Australian Stosur, the sixth seed and world number seven, was beaten 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 by Kirilenko, who defeated her at the same stage of last week’s Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
“I didn’t get off to as good a start as you want going into a third set,” said Stosur. “Three love down and then 5-2 down – that’s not a deficit you want to be in when it’s the last set of the match.
“I’ve only played two tournaments since winning the US Open, so I don’t think it’s the end of the world with the two results that I’ve had,” she added.
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki reached the Beijing third round with a textbook 6-2, 6- 3 win over Australian Jarmila Gajdosova.
The Danish world number one, who had struggled in her first round match, was rarely troubled by the big-hitting, 34th-ranked Gajdosova.
She will now meet Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who beat her in the third round in Tokyo last week.
The showcase WTA women’s and ATP men’s tournaments at the National Tennis Centre in the Chinese capital have suffered a bout of shock exits and injury pull outs.
Home favorite and world number six Li Na exited in the first round while world number two Maria Sharapova pulled out with injury.
Men’s world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic also withdrew with a back complaint.