Tennis-Low-key Li makes solid start at Wimbledon


Tue, 21 Jun 22:23:00 2011

(Adds details, quotes)

* Li does enough to beat Kudryavtseva

* French Open champion happy with start

French Open champion Li Na did enough to beat Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3 6-3 in a low-key first-round clash at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The largely uneventful match, dominated by baseline rallies, went with serve for the first seven games until the 29-year-old Chinese broke her opponent with a superb drop shot to take a 5-3 lead.

The fourth seed polished off the first set with a string of solid serves before breaking Kudryavtseva in the opening game of the second.

"It was tough, of course ... she has a huge, big serve," Li told reporters.

Much of the depleted crowd, wrapped-up in coats, jumpers and shawls to protect themselves against the cold evening wind, seemed more interested in the lively chants and cheers coming from Australian Lleyton Hewitt's match next door on Court 12.

"You have to focus on your match. We are professional players," said Li. "But I was like, okay, hopefully they can finish the match soon and we can concentrate again."

Both players seemed rattled by the noise but the Australian Open runner-up held her nerve better than foot-fault prone Kudryavtseva, who at one point smashed her racket against the ground in frustration and glared at the line judge every time he called against her.

In her more composed moments the Russian ran Li side to side along the baseline with some expertly placed shots, and a lapse from Li allowed the 23-year-old to break back to level at one game a piece.

But the Chinese edged ahead again after the Russian powered a couple of shots into the net.

World number 72 Kudryavtseva failed to win a point in her final service game, firing a groundstroke long to seal Li's place in the second round.

"The French Open is very different from Wimbledon," said Li. "The French is over. So I would like to do the same as before, come to the next tournament, and focus on the tournament."


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