Chinese Trailblazer On Winning Trail Again
Published April 18, 2011 12:00
STUTTGART, Germany - China's Li Na snapped out of a five-match losing streak on Monday night, beating Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the only indoor clay event on the WTA.
Li, who was a runner-up to Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open then lost her opening matches at Dubai, Doha, Indian Wells and Miami (holding match points in two of those losses), came into this week under a lot of question marks, but she quickly erased those with a 62 63 triumph over Sevastova, showing some impressive mental strength on the big points this time - she converted on five of her six break points and saved eight of the 10 break points against her.
"I'm excited. I've been waiting for this win for a long time," Li beamed. "I've been asking myself what I want to do and how I can get back on the winning track Coming into this clay court season I knew I had to stand up and take charge."
Li talked more about her feelings during the losing streak. "I didn't know if I was the one who changed or it was the other players playing better against me. It was after Miami that we really thought hard about everything, but my team always stuck behind me and believed in me. Now I'm back and I'm so happy."
Another player who got back on track was the No.8 seed, Marion Bartoli. Following strong showings at Indian Wells and Miami, Bartoli lost her opener in Charleston to Lisicki - but she eased past Tsvetana Pironkova here, 64 61.
In the only other main draw match of the day, German wildcard Kristina Barrois got past Lucie Safarova, 61 64. Safarova had a fantastic run here in Stuttgart last year, upsetting Caroline Wozniacki en route to the quarterfinals.
Anna Chakvetadze, Tamira Paszek, Jamie Hampton and Michaella Krajicek all secured main draw berths with wins in the final round of qualies. Chakvetadze worked particularly hard to earn her spot, coming from 76(3) 53 down to beat Mariya Koryttseva, 67(3) 75 64. Koryttseva hit 17 double faults.