Wimbledon Czech-mate for Li

Updated: 2014-06-29 07:48

By Reuters in London(China Daily)

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Li Na's husband was granted an unexpected breather from his usual duties of "fixing the drinks and fixing the rackets" and "doing a lot of jobs" for his famous wife after the Australian Open champion suffered a shocking third-round exit at Wimbledon.

Six months after thanking her long-suffering husband, Jiang Shan, in a hilarious Melbourne Park victory speech, during which she also praised her agent for "making me rich", Li let down her billion-strong Chinese fan base by bowing out early from the grass-court major.

Jiang at least will be relieved his wife did not hold him, or his loud snoring, responsible for Friday's result.

Instead, she blamed herself for the 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) loss to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.

Wimbledon Czech-mate for Li

"I made the wrong decision. I need to play some matches before the big one," the world No 2 said. "I always play (the warm-up event in) Eastbourne every year, but (it's) always raining and windy. I said, 'OK, I cannot practice in that'."

The gamble of opting out of playing in any grass-court event over the previous two weeks backfired on Friday as Li continued her unhappy association with Wimbledon.

A champion on red clay at Roland Garros in 2011 and on the hard courts of Melbourne in January, grass has proved to be a tougher surface for Li to conquer.

Her hopes of improving on three previous quarterfinal appearances ended when she whipped a forehand long on match point to become the highest seed so far to fall at this year's championships.

"It's not only about technique; I think sometimes I don't know how to play the point (on grass), especially in the important moment. Today I made a lot of mistakes," the 32-year-old said.

"I was always waiting or wishing for the opponent to make mistakes. But today it didn't work.

"At least I'm doing good on the hard court. Now I'm back to hard courts again."

While Li was left to rue her missed chances, Zahlavova Strycova raised her arms in triumph and attributed the win to her "belief, belief, belief" as she finally reached the second week of a Grand Slam on her 33rd attempt - after more than a decade of trying.

(China Daily 06/29/2014 page11)