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Li Na beats nemesis in opening round

By Agencies in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-28 06:55


 Li Na beats nemesis in opening round

China's Li Na eyes the ball as she plays Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues during their first round match of the French Open at Roland Garros on Monday. Li beat Medina Garrigues, 6-3, 6-4. Michel Euler / Associated Press

Former champion from China beats Medina Garrigues on clay for first time

Former French Open champion Li Na started fast at Roland Garros to beat a nemesis.

The Chinese sixth seed was kept on her toes as she reached the second round of the French Open with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues on Monday.

Li, the 2011 Roland Garros champion who had never beaten Medina Garrigues in three previous claycourt meetings, was never allowed to let her guard down by the world No 68 on a sunsoaked Court Philippe Chatrier, but she prevailed on her first match point after 1 hour 44 minutes.

Li opened a 4-0 lead in the first set before a resilient Medina Garrigues threatened a comeback by breaking back twice.

The Spaniard opened a 2-0 lead in the second set but could not capitalize on her advantage as Li roared back to win four games in a row, relying on a series of booming forehand winners.

Medina Garrigues leveled for 4-4 before dropping serve in the ninth game. Li sealed the win when Medina Garrigues fired a forehand long.

Li will next face American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Li is one of six former champions in the women's draw. Maria Sharapova, the 2012 winner, was among those scheduled to play later Monday.

No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska needed only 57 minutes to defeat Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-1. Radwanska, last year's Wimbledon runner-up, played for the first time since withdrawing before last week's Brussels tournament with a recurrence of the right shoulder injury that has bothered her for the past couple of years.

"I decided to have a week of rest and just practice," she said. "I think it was a good move."

She'll next play American Mallory Burdette, who won in her Roland Garros debut on Sunday. Radwanska was asked what she knew about her second-round opponent.

"To be honest, not much. Nothing at all, actually," she said with a smile. "I might Google her."

No 15 Roberta Vinci won in less than an hour, beating Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-3, 6-0.

Radwanska won while committing only eight unforced errors. She has two tournament titles this year but is just 2-2 on clay this spring and has never advanced beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Local favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga barely broke a sweat as he brushed aside Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to book his place in the second round.

The sixth-seeded Tsonga, the last French man to reach a Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in 2008, will next take on either compatriot Paul-Henri Mathieu or Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

Kei Nishikori of Japan, seeded 13th, routed Jesse Levine of Canada 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 on Monday.

Nishikori warmed up for the clay-court Grand Slam by beating Roger Federer in the third round of the Madrid Open.

Nishikori missed the French Open last year because of an abdominal injury.


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