Li Na has been defeated by Bethanie Mattek-Sands of USA in the second round of the ongoing French Open. Sands won the match in three sets by 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Sands had entered the match as an underdog, but, she didn’t show any signs of tentativeness. She looked confident right from the very beginning and played some quality tennis to surprise her Chinese opponent.
This was the third match between these two players and Sands defeated Li for the first time.
In the post match interview, Sands said, “This is one of my greatest victories. Li is a great player and I knew that I would have to play out of my skins to defeat her. I tried to play to my strengths and that worked for me.”
In the first set, Li started aggressively. With the help of breakthroughs in the 2nd and the 4th game, she took a lead of 4-0. But, she dropped her serve twice consecutively after that and the scores got equalized at 4-4 at the end of the 8th game.
The next two games went with the serve and the scores were still levelled. In the 11th game, Li broke Sands’ serve for the third time in the set which gave her a lead of 6-5. The Chinese player served out the 12th game and won the first set by 7-5.
In the second set, Sands’ performance improved. The American player broke her opponent’s serve in the 2nd game and then, by the virtue of a serve hold in the next game, she enhanced her lead to 3-0.
Sands dropped her serve in the 7th game and her lead got reduced to 4-3, but, she made up for that immediately by breaking Li’s serve in the 8th game.
Li needed to break Sands’ serve in the 9th game to take the set further, but, she couldn’t do that. The American player served it out quite easily and won the set.
In the decider, Sands started in a belligerent way. She broke Li’s serve in the 1st, 3rd and 5th game and won the first five games successively. She had the opportunity to register a bagel by serving out the 6th game. But, that didn’t happen.
Li got a breakthrough in the 6th game and then, won her next service game to decrease Sands’ lead to 2-5. But, that was too little, too late. Sands held her serve in the 8th game to clinch the decider.
In the next round, Sands will face Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.