Somdev Devvarman put up a valiant fight before going down to world No. 31 Fernando Verdasco, while Mahesh Bhupathi yet again stumbled in the doubles first round as the two Indians bowed out of the ATP and WTA China Open here on Tuesday.
The 97th-ranked Devvarman saved as many as nine break chances, but lost the battle 6-7(6), 3-6 in one hour and 34 minutes.
Devvarman traded a break with Verdasco to push the opening set to a tie-breaker, in which he could not get past the formidable Spaniard.
In the second set, Devvarman saved two of the three break chances but that one chance was enough for Verdasco to seal the win.
In the doubles event, Mahesh Bhupathi failed to cross the first round hurdle for the third successive time as he and his Swedish partner Robert Lindstedt suffered a straight-set defeat against Novak Djokovic and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
The second seeded Bhupathi and Lindstedt lost 3-6, 3-6 in one hour and three minutes.
Meanwhile, top seed Serena Williams stumbled her way into the third round, while men’s favourites Djokovic and Rafael Nadal powered through their opening matches.
The world No. 1 Serena at times appeared agitated during her 6-4, 7-5 victory over Italian Francesca Schiavone, shouting at herself over lost points.
The American only showed rare moments of her trademark power-play, gaining the upper hand in the first set via a mistake from her opponent, who double-faulted on set point.
The top seed Serena was forced to become more aggressive in the second set after her serve was broken in the first game by Schiavone, Italy’s first Grand Slam winner, at Roland Garros in 2010, and the current world No. 50.
As the competition intensified both players’ tempers threatened to boil over, with Serena ranting and Schiavone smashing balls into the barriers at the side of the court in Beijing.
But Serena seemed calmer — and quieter — as she closed in on a hard-earned victory.
“I was able to save some energy, so I started walking slower and taking my time more. When I did that, I actually won three or four games in a row,” she said.
Her sister Venus, meanwhile, crashed out 6-1, 6-2 to Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki.
The 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro defeated American Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 to book her place in the third round.
On the men’s side, Djokovic signalled his intent to reclaim the title he won in the Chinese capital last year, sweeping aside Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-3.
The Serbian world No. 1 — and top seed — dumped out his Czech challenger in just 53 minutes.
Nadal, who could unseat Djokovic in the world rankings after Beijing, faced slightly more resistance from Santiago Giraldo, with the Spaniard claiming a 6-2, 6-4 win in about 90 minutes.
The second seed will now face German Philipp Kohlschreiber, while Djokovic will meet Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the second round.
Fifth seed Richard Gasquet and sixth seed Stanislas Wawrinka both safely negotiated their way through.
France’s Gasquet defeated Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 7-6(2), while Switzerland’s Wawrinka needed three sets to overcome Italian Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. American Sam Querrey defeated Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-6(3), 6-3.
Meanwhile, Sania Mirza and Cara Black took off from where they left in Tokyo.
The eighth-seeded Indo-Zimbabwean duo brushed aside Kimiko Date-Krumm and Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round on Monday.
Men: First round: Richard Gasquet bt Florian Mayer 6-3, 7-6(2); Stanislas Wawrinka bt Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Fernando Verdasco bt Somdev Devvarman 7-6(6), 6-3; Sam Querrey bt Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(3), 6-3; Novak Djokovic bt Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-3; John Isner bt Wu Di 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3; Marinko Matosevic bt Julien Benneteau 7-6(5), 6-3; Rafael Nadal bt Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-4.
Philipp Kohlschreiber bt Albert Montanes 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(4); Lleyton Hewitt bt Tommy Haas 7-6(6), 6-3.
Doubles: First round: Novak Djokovic & Stanislas Wawrinka bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3.
Women: Second round: Serena Williams bt Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-5; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2; Sabine Lisicki bt Venus Williams 6-1, 6-2; Roberta Vinci bt Zhang Shuai 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; Maria Kirilenko bt Urszula Radwanska 6-4, 6-4; Caroline Wozniacki bt Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-1.
Sara Errani bt Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-2; Lucie Safarova bt Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3.
First round: Polona Hercog bt Monica Puig 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles: First round: Sania Mirza & Cara Black bt Kimiko Date-Krumm & Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 6-3.