Wickmayer Battles Back, Upsets Li
Published Feburary 16, 2011 12:00
DUBAI, UAE - Li Na, Asia's first Grand Slam finalist, became the first big name to fall at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, losing a heartbreaker to Yanina Wickmayer on Centre Court Wednesday evening.
Li, the No.5 seed, seemed to have finally figured out Yanina Wickmayer as she built quadruple match point at 6-2 in their second set tie-break, but Wickmayer fought all of them off and wound up the winner, 67(6) 76(6) 62.
"The last time I played her I won 7-6 in the third, so I knew it was going to be tough," Wickmayer said. "She had four match points in a row - it wasn't easy to come back from that one. I kept fighting. I stayed aggressive and positive."
Wickmayer got her second Top 10 win over the No.7-ranked Li, having beaten a No.9-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska in Fed Cup play last season.
"I also saved three match points against Radwanska," Wickmayer said. "I don't think I've ever saved four in a row. I knew I had to keep going for my shots."
Next up for Wickmayer won't be a Top 10 player, but the closest thing to that - No.11. Shahar Peer, the No.9 seed here, won their last meeting right here a year ago. "I've played Shahar a few times. She's a big fighter, so it won't be easy. But I'm not really thinking about tomorrow yet. It has been a really big one for me today and I'll think about that one tomorrow when I wake up."
Li was playing her first match since finishing runner-up to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne. She rose to a career-high No.7 in the world afterwards.
Another one of the top seeds was in trouble but managed to get by, as No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki advanced past Anna Chakvetadze with a 61 35 retirement victory. Chakvetadze retired with a gastrointestinal illness.
"Suddenly I saw her collapse on the court. I didn't know what happened, so I went over to her. I wanted to know what was going on," Wozniacki said. "It was a shock. It was scary. She's a good friend of mine. It's not a nice sight. I wanted to make sure she was okay and the doctors went out as soon as possible."
Wozniacki can regain the No.1 ranking from Clijsters by reaching the semifinals this week. She next faces young Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita.