Li Na has said that she is glad that her success in tennis has inspired the young girls in China to be a professional tennis player.
China hasn’t produced too many great tennis players over the years and that’s why, the young kids in China were not that much attracted towards this sport in the past. But, Li Na’s success in professional circuit has changed that scenario completely. Now, the Chinese kids especially girls want to make their careers in tennis.
When asked about that, Li Na said, “It’s really great to see the young girls from China being attracted towards tennis. It wasn’t the same in the past. People didn’t have this sort of interest in tennis earlier. Very few people used to watch this sport. But, the popularity has increased in the recent years.”
“I really feel proud that my success has motivated the kids to try and become a professional tennis player.”
“When I was a kid, I didn’t have any idea what was going on in tennis all over the world. My aim was just to become the champion at national level. The facilities were very poor at that time.”
“Now, things have changed. Quite a few coaching centres and academies have been opened.”
When asked about the tennis talent in China, Li said, “We have a lot of talented players at the junior level. I got the chance to meet a few of them a couple of months back and they are really full of talent. They are being groomed well under world class coaches and hopefully, they will start turning it on in professional circuit in a few years.”
Recently, Li has been included in the list of top 100 influential persons in the world by the Time magazine. The magazine also has Li’s photo on cover page. When asked about that, Li said, “It’s so nice of them that they included me in that list. It’s really an honour. I want to thank them for that.”
Li Na has defeated Kiki Bertens of Holland in the second round of the Sony Open. Li won the match in the straight sets by 6-3, 6-1.
This was Li’s first match after losing the final match of the Australian Open against Victoria Azarenka.
After the match, Li said, “I just tried to stick to the basics and that worked. This was my first match in the last one and half months. It was nice to secure a straight set win in my comeback match.”
“I was overwhelmed to see so many fans turning up to cheer for me. Their support certainly helped me.”
When asked about the condition of her ankle which she had injured in the Australian Open final, Li said, “It’s alright now. I haven’t felt pain since the last two weeks and it is also not obstructing me from moving fluently.”
Li had made a great start to the ongoing season by winning the Shenzhen Open in front of her home crowd. She had defeated Klara Zakopalova of Czech Republic in the final of that event. That was the 7th WTA title won by her.
Her performance was fine in the Apia International Sydney tennis tournament as well. She cruised into the final 4 of that tournament where she had to face the no. 4 player in the world Agnieszka Radwanska. She couldn’t get better of the Polish superstar and missed the opportunity of starting the season with two consecutive title victories.
She went one step further in the Australian Open and reached the finals there, but, again, she couldn’t hold her nerve in the big match and lost the final.
Li has played 17 matches in the season so far. She has won 15 out of them and has lost only two.
Li Na has defeated Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the third round of the Australian Open 2013. Li won the match in the straight sets by 6-4, 6-1. With this victory, the Chinese superstar has made her way into the final 16.
This was the fifth match between these two players. Out of the previous four matches, Li had won three.
In the opening set, Li took the lead with a serve break in the third game. Li served out the fourth game and the score became 3-1 in her favour.
Li broke Cirstea’s service for the second time in the set in the fifth game to make the score 4-1.
Li was in full control at that stage. But, Cirstea made a comeback after that. The Romanian player broke Li’s service twice and won three out of the next four games to reduce the lead to 4-5.
Cirstea needed one more breakthrough to level the scores. But, she couldn’t do that. Li served out the 10th game and won the opening set.
Li was in a destructive mood in the second set. She played with a lot of aggression. Quite a few wonderful forehand shots came off her racquet and she just took the match beyond the reach of the Romanian youngster.
Li broke Cirstea’s service thrice and won the first five games on the trot. She only had to hold her service in the sixth game to win the match, but, she failed in doing so. Her service was broken in the sixth game, but, that didn’t have any impact on the result of the match. Li broke Cirstea’s service for the fourth time in the set in the seventh game and won the match.
In the fourth round, Li Na will take on Julia Gorges of Germany.
Li Na and Marion Bartoli will participate in the Shenzhen Gemdale Open which is going to be played from 31st December to 5th January at Shenzhen Louhu Tennis Centre. This tournament is going to be organized for the first time. There will be 32 players participating in the singles event of this tournament, while, in the doubles event, 16 teams will participate. The total prize money in the tournament is 500,000 US Dollars.
The participation of Li Na was almost certain as the tournament would be organized on her home soil. The Chinese superstar has been given the top seed in this tournament, while, Marion Bartoli has been given the second seed.
Confirming her participation in the tournament, Li Na said, “I am going to participate in the Shenzhen Gemdale Open. This is the first time that an elite tennis tournament will be organized in Shenzhen and I want to congratulate the people of Shenzhen for that. It will be a fantastic tournament and I am pretty excited about it. Hopefully, I would do well in front of the home crowd.”
“The organizers have worked very hard to get the rights to organize this tournament. They are still working hard to make this tournament a great success. Hopefully, they would succeed in their mission.”
“It’s great that I would start the new season by participating in a tournament on my home soil. If I manage to win this tournament, it would set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Marion Bartoli was also present in that press conference. She said, “Tennis is a popular game in China and it’s fantastic that such a tournament is going to be organized here. The people of Shenzhen will get to see some quality tennis.”
Apart from Li Na and Marion Bartoli, some other players who will participate in the Shenzhen Gemdale Open are Jelena Jankovic, Laura Robson, Hsieh Su-Wei, Peng Shuai and Klara Zakopalova.
The former World no.1, Serena Williams, has defeated Li Na of China in her second round rubber match of the WTA Championships. Serena won the match in the straight sets by 7-6(2), 6-3. Now, Serena has a very good chance of qualifying for the semis.
After registering victory over Li Na, Serena said, “I made a pretty good start, but, after a few games, I lost my concentration all of a sudden. I managed to gather my concentration back towards the end of the first set, but, overall, it was certainly not one of my best performances. I think I am going to get better in the upcoming matches.”
On the other hand, Li Na was clearly looking disappointed after losing the match. The Chinese superstar said, “Playing against somebody like Serena was always going to be tough. She has been in great form in the recent past and nobody would want to face her in this kind of form. The margin of error against her is very small.”
Both the players broke each other’s service in the first two games of the first set. Li Na managed to hold her service in the third game and then, enhanced her lead by getting another breakthrough in the next game. She served out the fifth game and the score became 4-1. It seemed that Li would run away with the set. But, Serena didn’t let that happen. She broke Li’s service twice after that and won four out of the next five games to level the scores. The next couple of games went with the serve and the set went into the tie breaker in which Serena proved to be better than Li. The American got a couple of mini breakthroughs at the start of the tie breaker and didn’t lose the advantage after that.
In the second set, Serena was off to a better start. She got two breakthroughs in the first five games and took the lead of 4-1. She held her service in the seventh and the ninth game and wrapped up the match.
Serena Williams will play her next match against Victoria Azarenka.
Li Na has defeated Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the quarter final of the China Open. Li won the match in the straight sets by 6-4, 6-2. The Chinese superstar was in brilliant form in the match and she absolutely demolished the 23 years old Polish player. She took just 90 minutes to win the match and cruise into the final 4. This was the eighth match between these two players and Li has won five of those matches.
Both the players started the match quite well and held their service in the first six games. Li managed to get a breakthrough in the seventh game, but, she lost the advantage immediately as her service was broken by Radwanska in the very next game. The Polish player lost the momentum in the next two games. Li got the second breakthrough in the ninth game and then, held her service in the next game to win the first set by 6-4.
The Polish youngster made a decent start to the second set. There were no breakthroughs in the second set till the end of the fourth game. But, thereafter, Li finished the match in a hurry. She broke Radwanska’s service twice and won the last four games to win the second set by 6-2.
Radwanska had won the China Open last year, but, the Polish player didn’t manage to defend the title. In the post match press conference, Radwanska said, “It was not one of those days which I would like to remember for a long time. I made a lot of mistakes and Li was certainly better than me today.”
In the semi final, Li Na will take on the Russian superstar Maria Sharapova who reached the semi final with a blistering win over Angelique Kerber.