Clijsters, Li closer to rematch of final
Updated: 2012-01-19 08:00
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark serves to Anna Tatishvili of Georgia during their match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday. Mark Blinch / Reuters
MELBOURNE - World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki fought off a second-set fightback to reach the Australian Open third round on Wednesday as Li Na and Kim Clijsters moved closer to a 2011 final rematch.
Wozniacki was pushed hard in the second set by Georgia's Anna Tatishvili before she sealed it on a tie-break to win 6-1, 7-6 (4) and set up a clash against Romanian Monica Niculescu.
Earlier, 2011 finalist Li cantered to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Australian wild card Olivia Rogowska and defending champion Clijsters demolished France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-0, 6-1 in just 47 minutes.
Their wins left them on course for a highly anticipated fourth-round meeting.
Since the draw was made a possible fourth-round showdown between Clijsters and Li has loomed, although the Belgian 11th seed insisted she had not looked that far ahead.
"In the media people always start to talk about the future, quarterfinal, semifinal, a tough third, fourth round coming up before the tournament even starts," she said.
"I don't like to waste my energy on those kind of thoughts, because I can use all that focus on whatever match I have coming up next."
Clijsters was so dominant against Foretz Gacon that the Frenchwoman only won 24 points in the match, 13 of those coming from her opponent's unforced errors.
"I was hitting the ball well and seeing the ball well - I did what I had to do," said Clijsters, who next plays Daniela Hantuchova, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko.
Fifth seed Li was broken in the first set, but she proved too strong for Rogowska in front of cheering Chinese fans at Rod Laver Arena.
"I think today, the score looks like it was easy, but some games she was fighting a lot," Li said. "I mean, she's young. I think she needs more experience. I am 29 years old, so I have a lot of experience on the court."
Li, who made the semi-finals in 2010 as well as last year's final, said she enjoyed coming back to the Australian Open's center court.
"Coming back to Rod Laver Arena, I was feeling, yeah, I like this court a lot, I like to hit on this court," she said.
She now takes on Anabel Medina Garrigues in the third round after the Spanish 26th seed thumped Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6-1, 6-0.
(China Daily 01/19/2012 page24)