Open Champion Li Beaten At French Open
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[May 27, 2014]
By Robert Woodward
PARIS (Reuters) - Li Na, the Australian
Open champion, followed her male counterpart Stanislas Wawrinka out of
the French Open in the first round when she lost 7-5 3-6 6-1 to local
favourite Kristina Mladenovic on Tuesday.
The second seed from China, who won at Roland Garros in 2011,
never hit her stride on court Suzanne Lenglen on another chilly day
Once dubbed the next big thing of French women's tennis, Mladenovic
saved two set points in the opener, lost focus in the second but
stepped up a gear again in the decider to wrap it up on her second
"It's incredible, without you I couldn't have done it," a weeping
Mladenovic told the cheering crowd.
In the men's draw, 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, one of the young
players expected to challenge the likes of champion Rafa Nadal in
Paris, found the service of giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic too hot to
handle. The 11th seed was beaten 6-4 7-5 7-6(4).
Simona Halep, seeded fourth, narrowly missed inflicting the first
"double bagel" of the tournament after serving for the match when
leading Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 6-0 5-0.
But the Romanian lost concentration and gave up two games before
winning on her first match point. The diminutive Halep won the
juniors' title at Roland Garros in 2008 and her power and accuracy
from the baseline will trouble all but the best here.
She was the most improved player on the women's tour in 2013 after
winning six WTA titles, and carried her form into the new year,
reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
[to top of second column]
Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, the older stateswoman of the WTA Tour at
43, saved four match points but still went down 6-3 0-6 6-2 to 24th
seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian 27th seed and 2009 French Open
champion, eased through 6-3 6-1 against Georgia's Sofia Shapatava.
Romanian 26th seed Sorana Cirstea beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak
6-7(3) 7-5 6-2.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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