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Online Scouting Helps Li Into Next Round

World No.4 Li Na enlisted the help of an unusual source to track down information on her first round opponent: YouTube.

Published January 13, 2014 12:13

Online Scouting Helps Li Into Next Round
Li Na

MELBOURNE, Australia - Her pre-match scouting may have been restricted to visits to YouTube, but Li Na displayed no signs of complacency in her opening match at the 2014 Australian Open.

Three hundred and fifty-two days after coming within touching distance of the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, Li Na was back on court at Melbourne Park and back to business. Taking on Ana Konjuh, last year's junior champion and the youngest player in the draw, the No.4 seed required just 61 minutes to wrap up a 62 60 win.

"I knew like zero about her," Li said when asked about her preparation for 16-year-old Konjuh. "I tried to find some of her matches on YouTube, so I watched a couple of games.

"But it was still a little bit, how do you say, strange in the beginning of the match because I really didn't know the way exactly how she play on the court."

And while Konjuh may have struggled to make much of an impression on the scoreboard, she succeeded in impressing her more famous foe.

"Yeah, I was feeling her power - she has a huge serve and very good baseline shots. I'm sure that when she gets more experience, I think she'll be a very good player," Li said.

For now, though, Li will be back online preparing to face another recent junior Grand Slam champion, Belinda Bencic.

After Konjuh's exit, Bencic, who triumphed at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2013, is now the youngest player left in the draw and booked her place in the second round thanks to a 64 46 63 win over Kimiko Date-Krumm.

"I know she played Kimiko today, but I have to prepare for my match so I didn't really see much. So I will try to find it on the internet," Li said.

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