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Paralympic Winter Games kicks off in Canada

In Vietnam Sports on March 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Paralympic Winter Games kicks off in Canada

QĐND – Sunday, March 14, 2010, 21:39 (GMT+7)

The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games officially opened in the Canadian province of British Columbia on March 12 night (local time).

As many as 35,000 spectators and officials, including Governor General Michaelle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, attended the opening ceremony, which was organised at BC Place Stadium.

A two-hour show featured a cast of 5,000 people performing music, dance and songs around a theme of “One inspires many”.

A new flame lit the cauldron here just twelve days after the Winter Olympic flame was extinguished. The Paralympic torch relay arrived in Vancouver on March 10 for the final leg of its journey before the start of March 12’s opening ceremony in Vancouver. About 600 torchbearers are participating nationwide.

The Paralympic torch was carried into the stadium jointly by Betty and
Rolly Fox, parents of Terry Fox, a forever-young Canadian hero who died in 1981 at 22 after running — on one leg — 5,300 kilometres in 143 days, to raise funds for cancer research.

Fox’s attempt to run across all of Canada was foiled when his cancer
returned, but today millions of people in 30 countries take part in an annual Terry Fox run.

The Paralympics, which run from March 12-21, features 1,350 athletes, trainers and support staff from 44 countries and regions.

The athletes will compete in five sports and 64 medal events, including wheelchair curling, ice sledge hockey, Alpine skiing and the Nordic skiing encompassing biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Vietnam to join world junior taekwondo championships

In Vietnam Sports on March 8, 2010 at 2:40 am

Vietnam to join world junior taekwondo championships

QĐND – Saturday, March 06, 2010, 20:38 (GMT+7)

Six Vietnamese teakwondo athletes will take part in the 8th WTF World Junior Taekwondo Championships which will be held in Tiajuana, Mexico from March 6-9.

The tournament draws the participation of more than 750 athletes from 85 countries and territories. Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are the representatives from Southeast Asian region.

At the tournament, Vietnam features six athletes including Mai Tan Phat (men’s 48 kg category), Nguyen Quoc Cuong (men’s 55kg), To Minh Nhat (men’s 63 kg), Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang (women’s 44 kg), Doan Thi Huong Giang (women’s 49kg) and Nguyen Thanh Thao (women’s 55 kg). 

Before the World Junior Championships, the Vietnamese athletes will participate in the WTF Qualification Tournament for 2010 Youth Olympic Games, also held in Mexico from March 3-4.

Source: VietNamNet/Nhan Dan

Source: QDND

Two-goal Tevez back to haunt United

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

Carlos Tevez chases the ball against Manchester United during their English League Cup semi final first leg football match at The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester on January 19, 2010. AFP PHOTO

England, Jan 20 (AFP) – Carlos Tevez, whose move across Manchester was the source of so much controversy, made the difference as City claimed a 2-1 win over United in the rivals’ League Cup semi-final first leg here on Tuesday.

Ryan Giggs’s first derby goal since 1996 handed United the lead but Tevez, whose decision to reject United and sign for their wealthy neighbours in the close season was accompanied by such ill feeling, scored twice, taking his tally to 13 goals from his last 11 games.

Tevez was always destined to play a pivotal role in this semi-final, one way or another.

Sure enough, when Craig Bellamy was held back by badly beaten United full-back Rafael five minutes before the interval, it was the Argentinian forward who was handed the responsibility of converting from the penalty spot, one he gleefully accepted with an emphatic finish.

Tevez’s gesture to former team mate Gary Neville, sat in his customary position on the United bench, told the defender to be silent and was sweet revenge for the City man having endured a half of baiting and abuse from visiting supporters.

The penalty cancelled out Giggs’s early opening goal, which came from United’s first attack of note.

Patrice Evra found Antonio Valencia on the right wing. Bellamy appeared to have stifled the danger with a challenge on the winger but Valencia slipped past the City man and took advantage of Vincent Kompany’s failure to cut out the cross.

A near-post touch from Wayne Rooney took the ball away from City keeper Shay Given and Giggs was well placed to convert into an open net from practically on the goalline.

The second half winner was vintage Tevez although it was again the result of poor defending from United, something that has happened with alarming regularity for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team this season.

Bellamy’s 64th minute cross from the left-wing caused panic in the visiting defence following a weak punched clearance from Edwin van der Sar.

Pablo Zabaleta did a good job of keeping the ball live, chipping back into the area for Kompany to cross and find Tevez who headed in from close range.

The overwrought pre-match build-up from City was perhaps understandable.

Since they last appeared in a major semi-final, of the 1981 FA Cup, a total of 54 different league clubs have reached the last four of one or other of the two major domestic knockout competitions.

United seemed in the mood to ruin City’s planned party but City’s response to falling behind was spirited with Shaun Wright-Phillips steaming to the right-hand by-line, delivering a perfect cross with which Tevez failed to connect from six yards.

United started the second half the brighter, looking to regain control of the tie, but their failure to deal with City’s corners was increasingly apparent, starting, in the 57th minute, when Evra had to make a timely block to stop Micah Richards shooting in following a Bellamy flag kick.

United responded, with Rooney crossing for Giggs whose header drew an amazing save from Shay Given, falling backwards and almost in his own net, and the England forward then sending a dipping shot rising over the bar from distance.

But, after conceding the second, things might have got worse for United with van der Sar being forced into a solid, diving save to keep out a Wright-Phillips blast following a neat pass into the area from Bellamy.

United would dominate the closing proceedings however and Rooney’s one-two with substitute Michael Owen in the 77th minute played him clean in on goal where Given made a fantastic block, Owen then steering the loose ball goalwards where Nedum Onuoha made a simple clearance.

Two minutes later Rooney was again City’s tormentor with a twisting run into the area and an audacious shot which Given tipped over. United pressed until the end with Valencia missing a far post volley from an Evra cross and Given saving well once again to deny Rooney.

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Benitez expects Reds to be spurred on to success

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

England, Jan 21, 2010 (AFP) – Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is confident his team will go from strength to strength in the second half of the season after their 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur here at Anfield.

Rafael Benitez (C) stands before his team take on Tottenham Hotspur during their English Premier League football match at Anfield in Liverpool on January 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

Wednesday’s Premier League win moved Liverpool to within a point of fourth-placed Spurs, who currently occupy the final qualifying place on offer to English clubs for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool, who’ve endured a largely lacklustre season to date, are currently without first-team players Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun and Glen Johnson through injury.

But Benitez believes previous campaigns have shown the Reds they can still make a charge in the final weeks of the season.

And, having previously guaranteed a top-four finish, he is sure his side are well positioned in the race to finish in the Champions League places.

“It’s question of having the players available and if you don’t have these players at least we’ve seen they can work like this,” Benitez told reporters after Wednesday’s match.

“In the last five years we’ve done better in the second part of the league,” the Spaniard added.

“Everybody knows Liverpool is a good team and it was a question of starting to win games and show the quality.

“The squad is not as bad as people have said,” he insisted. “We were playing without six players that could maybe start and all of them are quality players but the rest of the squad has showed character.

“It was important for everyone here because we knew we had to reduce the gap to stay in the race. I’m pleased with the players, with their attitude, their spirit and effort and we showed real character.”

Meanwhile Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said the Londoners were still strong runners in a four-horse race for fourth place despite losing to two goals from Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt, the Dutch striker scoring early on before his stoppage-time penalty put the result beyond doubt.

“It’s open. Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Tottenham, it’s a toss-up.

“We’ve been on a good run and just because we lose one doesn’t mean we’re out of it,” the former Portsmouth manager added.

“It’s all to play for still, It’s very open and I wouldn’t like to say where the momentum is.”

Nevertheless, Redknapp admitted Spurs had missed a trick at Anfield.

“It was a good chance for us at Liverpool,” he said. “When you come here and you see Liverpool without Gerrard, Torres, Johnson, Benayoun, you’ve got to think it’s a good opportunity.”

Even though Tottenham have not won away at the so-called ‘Big Four’ of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal in 66 attempts, Redknapp said he would not be changing Spurs’s style of play on their travels.

“We all felt we could win, we played a very open attacking team, two people who play off the wide men, who don’t really defend, and two strikers who don’t drop in and defend.

“We’re an open team that came here and looked to win and that’s how we play,” Redknapp explained.

Redknapp has been linked with a January transfer window move for Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, the former Manchester United forward.

But he added he was unlikely to bring any new players to White Hart Lane this month, saying: “I’d be surprised if we sign anybody.”

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Arsenal go top, Liverpool eye Champions League

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

LONDON, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Arsenal went top of the English Premier League after coming from 2-0 down to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-2 on Wednesday.

The Gunners needed to win by two clear goals to go ahead of Chelsea on goal difference but that looked unlikely as they fell two goals down inside half an hour, just three days after winning 2-0 away to the same opponents.

Bolton went in front through Gary Cahill before Matt Taylor’s penalty doubled their lead as they looked to give Owen Coyle his first win as manager.

However, Arsenal pulled one back before half-time through Tomas Rosicky before goals from Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Andrey Arshavin sealed their comeback at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas (R) vies with Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen (L) during their English Premier League football match against Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium, London on January 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

“For us, it was a big mountain to climb in the two games against a team with a new manager, you get two Cup games. You needed special quality to win the two games,” Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports.

Defeat left Wanderers in the bottom three but French manager Wenger added: “If Bolton play with that spirit and that commitment they will stay in the Premier League.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool moved to within a point of the top four and a place in next season’s Champions League with a 2-0 win at home to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.

Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt gave the Merseysiders an early lead before making sure of victory with a stoppage-time penalty as they put their FA Cup exit at the hands of second division Reading and last weekend’s lacklustre draw with Stoke behind them.

Wednesday’s win was all the sweeter for Liverpool as they were without injured star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

“Everyone worked so hard,” said under-fire Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

“We know it will be a long way but we had to believe we could reduce the gap today.”

At the Emirates, Bolton needed just seven minutes to take the lead against Arsenal when Cahill scored from Kevin Davies’s flick-on.

Bolton doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Lee Chung-Yong was brought down in the box by Denilson and Taylor scored from the penalty spot.

But Arsenal reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute when Rosicky fired in a shot at the near post and they were level, in controversial fashion, seven minutes after the break.

William Gallas was fortunate not be sent-off for a crude tackle on Mark Davies but referee Alan Wiley let play continue.

The ball eventually fell to Fabregas, who evaded a couple of challenges before shooting through the legs of Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

“It was closer to an assault than a tackle. That was the big turning point in the game,” said a furious Coyle, who felt Arsenal should have kicked the ball out with Davies on the deck.

Goalscoring centre-half Vermaelen fired the Gunners in front with a 65th minute half-volley that went in off the post.

Arsenal got the fourth goal they needed to go top with five minutes left when Russia forward Arshavin, after a neat one-two with Eduardo, slammed a shot past Jaaskelainen.

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Ten-goal thriller gets Villa to Wembley

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

BIRMINGHAM, England, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Aston Villa booked their first Wembley final appearance in a decade after a 6-4 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final here on Wednesday.

Aston Villa fans run onto the pitch at the final whistle after Aston Villa beat Blackburn Rovers 6-4 on Janauary 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

Victory at Villa Park saw Martin O’Neill’s men win the tie 7-4 on aggregate and they will now face either Manchester City or Manchester United in the final.

But his pre-match claim that this was the best Villa team their supporters had seen in 20 years looked hollow as a double from Nikola Kalinic put Rovers 2-0 up.

Villa endured a dreadful opening 25 minutes as they squandered the first leg advantage James Milner had given them in a 1-0 win at Ewood Park before the tie swung in their favour with the sending off of Rovers’ Christopher Samba five minutes before half-time.

Milner converted the penalty, which resulted from Samba’s foul in bringing down Gabriel Agbonlahor and added a second goal to cap a wonderful personal display which will only further enhance his England credentials as Villa moved within a match of winning their first trophy in 14 years.

But Blackburn continued to push Villa all the way, even a man down.

After Kalinic’s double, Stephen Warnock converted at the far post, following Ashley Young’s cross, to put Villa back into the tie and make amends for his earlier error that gave Rovers such an emphatic start.

Warnock was at fault at the far post, failing to challenge Croatia’s Kalinic for David Dunn’s corner under the crossbar and the Rovers striker’s header struck Warnock on the head before beating American goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Villa were two down before the half hour mark when Kalinic started the move, which resulted in him tapping home the rebound after Martin Olsson’s header from Morten Gamst Pedersen’s cross had been half saved by Guzan.

Villa simply could not get to grips with Rovers’ five-man midfield, but that all changed when Samba was shown a straight red card for his trip on Agbonlahor as the pair chased Emile Heskey’s through ball.

Milner beat Paul Robinson from the spot before an own goal from Steven Nzonzi and further goals from Agbonlahor and Heskey left Villa with a seemingly comfortable lead.

At that point they could be forgiven for turning their thoughts to whether they played Manchester United or Manchester City, but at least Rovers demonstrated some character of their own to push Villa close.

Olsson produced a stunning volley from Gael Givet’s cross to reduce the deficit and when Brett Emerton’s volley from the edge of the area forced its way through a crowded penalty area, their were some nervous moments for Villa to endure.

But Ashley Young rounded off the evening with a wonderful solo effort, running from half way to beat Robinson with a curling shot.

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Wenger’s Arsenal fighters ready for title battle

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

LONDON, Jan 21, 2010 (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal’s title rivals that his side have the physical strength and will-power to win the Premier League.

Wenger’s team moved into first place in the table with a 4-2 win over Bolton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday that underlined a new-found ability to flex their muscles.

Arsenal captain Fabregas celebrates scoring the equalizer during their English Premier League football match against Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium, London on January 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

While Arsenal have always had an impressive creative streak, they have often crumbled under pressure from opponents intent on kicking them into submission.

Judging by the way they stood up to Bolton’s aggressive gameplan twice in four days to overhaul previous leaders Chelsea on goals scored, that is no longer the case.

They refused to buckle after Bolton stormed into a two-goal lead and mixed brain with brawn to romp home thanks to goals from Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Andrey Arshavin.

William Gallas undoubtedly went too far with a nasty stamp on Bolton midfielder Mark Davies that went unpunished in the build-up to Fabregas’s equaliser and the visitors were rightly infuriated by referee Alan Wiley’s decision to not even award a foul.

Wenger apologised for Gallas’s tackle but he admitted he was delighted with Arsenal’s resilience.

“We had two difficult games against a team with a new manager and our mental and physical strength was tested in both games,” he said.

“I think we can mix it. We are certainly much more physical. They marked us man for man and didn’t give us an inch of space. You are never better tested physically than when you face Bolton.

“I am sorry if the tackle was not good and I apologise for that. However, to complain that we went on to play, I think that is unfair. The players did not even know what was happening behind them.”

Wenger’s men will need that extra fortitude in the coming weeks.

After a 3-0 defeat against Chelsea left them 11 points behind in November, Arsenal have reeled off seven wins from nine matches to overhaul the Blues and Manchester United.

But now they face a defining period. In the space of 14 days, the Gunners travel to Aston Villa, then host United, make the short journey to Chelsea and then entertain Liverpool.

Wenger said: “The next four games are very important for us. It shows it can change quickly when you keep believing no matter what people say. This is a big boost to our belief. I am very proud of what they have achieved.

“We are in a fight where we are top of the league and have a good number of points but the real difference is made when you play the teams around you.

“Mathematically it has a big impact on all the teams. We believe we have a real chance and I am convinced we will have a real go.”

Bolton boss Owen Coyle, whose side had gone ahead through Gary Cahill and increased their lead thanks to Matthew Taylor’s penalty, was left to bemoan Wiley’s refusal to punish Gallas’s foul.

The Scot, beaten by the Gunners in his first two matches in charge, also aimed a dig at Arsenal’s players for refusing to stop play as Davies lay prone with severe ankle ligament damage.

“The second goal, there is no doubt was a big turning point in the game,” Coyle said. “It is clearly not even just a foul, I’d suggest it’s closer to a red card.

“The referee hasn’t seen the lad is lying prostrate on the ground and Arsenal, being full of fair play as we keep hearing, have played on and scored an equaliser so it’s hard to take.

“If you see it again, it was a terrible challenge. The lad was clearly in agony.

“I can accept it if William Gallas got a bit of the ball and carried through. That is the game we play, but he got absolutely none of it.

“The referee said he never saw it but I was 40 yards away and I saw it. He was five yards away. Maybe he had a bad angle. I’ve seen red cards given for less, that’s all I can say.”

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Djokovic feels the heat but passes test

In Vietnam Sports on January 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

MELBOURNE, Jan 21, 2010 (AFP) – Former champion Novak Djokovic believes he can only improve after overcoming an early stumble to get past dogged Marco Chiudinelli to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Serbian third seed needed four sets and almost three hours to wear down the world number 58 Swiss, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 as the heat cranked up on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic hits a return against Marco Dhiudinelli of Switzerland in their men’s singles second round match on day four of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 21, 2010. AFP photo

He dropped the opening set but eventually dominated Chiudinelli to set up a third round encounter with Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.

Djokovic has painful memories of his ill-fated Australian Open title defence last year when he retired during his quarter-final with Andy Roddick through cramping and heat fatigue.

He was wary of the potential pitfalls in the early rounds and was at odds with himself in the opening set as he struggled to find rhythm and form.

“There are some things that I obviously have to improve in order to play better,” Djokovic said.

“But the opening rounds, especially at Australian Open, are tricky and where a lot of surprises happen.

“You’re playing against the players who really have nothing to lose and have played a more matches than you.

“I kind of feel that little pressure. This is what I felt a little today.”

Djokovic was off his game in the opening set, conceding two service breaks and hitting double the number of unforced errors of Chiudinelli.

“I was frustrated, especially at start of the match, because he was really giving it to me,” he said.

“He was very aggressive and stepping in and using ever opportunity that has been given to him.

“I automatically just became too defensive and didn’t really make too much. Just waiting for his mistakes.”

Djokovic said he made the transition to being offensive and gradually took control, breaking the Swiss twice in the second, four times in the third and in the eighth game of the final set.

“I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I try to take one match at a time,” he said.

“I really had some bad experiences last year. Unfortunately it finished the way I did.

“So I’m just trying to focus on my own matches and put in the best possible effort. I believe that I can even play better.”

It was an erratic performance from the 2008 Australian Open champion, offering 17 break point opportunities on his servce and committing 52 unforced errors.

Chiudinelli, making only his fourth Grand Slam appearance, dropped serve in six consecutive games during the second and third sets and needed constant running repairs on a troublesome right ankle.

Djokovic looked affected by the heat and resorted to an ice pack draped around his neck during changeovers late in the match.

Djokovic’s quarter of the draw has opened up following the first round elimination of French Open finalist and eighth seed Robin Soderling and the highest-ranked seed left in his section is Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

He beat Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final for his first career Grand Slam title.

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I’ll play when I’m 40, says evergreen Date-Krumm

In Vietnam Sports on January 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

MELBOURNE, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Japan’s former world number four Kimiko Date-Krumm, enjoying a comeback after more than a decade in retirement, said Wednesday she would continue playing even when she turns 40.

Date-Krumm, who hits the milestone in September, returned to the game in 2008 but her Australian Open dreams were shattered in the first round by Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.

Japanese tennis player Kimiko Date-Krumm gestures during her women’s singles match against Kazakhstan opponent Yaroslava Shvedova on the third day of play at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2010. AFP photo

Despite the 6-4, 6-2 defeat, Date-Krumm said she planned to be back next year.

“Yes, even when I’m 40. I hope to be back next year as long as I stay injury-free,” said Date-Krumm, who at 64 in the world is Japan’s top-ranked player following the retirement of Ai Sugiyama last season.

Date-Krumm reached the world number four spot in 1995 before retiring a year later after failing to cope with the pressure of life on tour. She married German racing driver Michael Krumm in 2001.

After her comeback in 2008, she lost to Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, then 18, in the first round at Wimbledon last year.

But in September, Date-Krumm chalked up her first tournament victory in 13 years, which made her the oldest winner of a WTA event since Billie Jean King in 1983.

She said she still felt she could tackle higher-ranked players, as shown by victories this month against two top-20 players — Virginie Razzano and Nadia Petrova.

“I still feel I can keep going,” she said. “I played three seeds at the Sydney International and I feel okay.

“My level has gone up over the past year and I think I have better chances now against the better players.”

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Clijsters and Kuznetsova march on in Melbourne

In Vietnam Sports on January 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

Kim Clijsters hits a return against Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand in their women’s singles second round match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20 (AFP photo)

MELBOURNE, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) – Kim Clijsters showed nerves of steel on Wednesday to come through a tough test and make the Australian Open third round alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Other top names also showed their mettle, including Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na, who all made the second round as organisers cleared rain-delayed matches held over from Tuesday.

Clijsters only conceded four games against her first round oppenent but she was given a more thorough examination by Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn.

The 26-year-old Belgian, who won the lead-up Brisbane International, eventually triumphed 6-3, 6-3, but it was harder than the score suggested for the 15th seed, now back full time after a break to start a family.

Her serve was broken in each set before she dug deep to dispose of the Thai, playing in her 51st Grand Slam.

Clijsters could meet fellow comeback queen Justine Henin in the quarter-finals, although Henin has a major hurdle to clear in fifth seed Elena Dementieva on Rod Laver Arena later Wednesday.

Unlike the high-profile Clijsters and Henin, Russian third seed Kuznetsova is flying under the radar and looked impressive in her 6-2, 6-2 defeat of countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The French Open champion, whose best effort here has been the quarter-finals, said she had prepared well in the off-season and was ready to make an impact.

“I think I’ve done a good pre-season, I’ve worked hard and I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.

“I mean, I’m feeling good. I worked on new things.”

Fourth seed Wozniacki downed Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 6-2 to get her campaign off to a winning start.

The Dane, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2009, winning three titles and finishing runner-up to Clijsters at the US Open, edged a tight first set but overpowered her opponent in the second.

“I had a tough opponent, so I was really happy to get through,” she said.

“I was feeling confident on the court and comfortable.”

“I’m really happy about the way things are going and I’ve been practising hard, so I’m really pleased about the way I’m playing.”

Belarussian seventh seed Victoria Azarenka blasted her way into the second round by crushing France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-2, 6-0, while China’s 16th seed Li coasted past New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in straight sets.

Ninth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva also pushed on deeper into the tournament, sending Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova packing 6-2, 6-0.

Maria Sharapova remains the highest profile casualty on the women’s side and her Russian conqueror Maria Kirilenko marched into the third round with a 6-3, 6-1 romp against Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger.

In the men’s draw, 11th seed Fernando Gonzalez was the first man into the third round with his 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan.

Scot Andy Murray resumes his quest to become the first Briton to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936 when he plays Frenchman Marc Gicquel later Wednesday.

Seventh seed Andy Roddick is also in action against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, while fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the US Open champion, faces American James Blake.

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