Li Beats Flipkens In Madrid Opener

In the first clay court match of the season for both players, Li Na got past Kirsten Flipkens in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Published May 05, 2014 12:13


Embedded code:

MADRID, Spain - World No.2 Li Na was pushed but got past the always dangerous Kirsten Flipkens to reach the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday.

Where can you watch live action from Madrid? Check out WTA TV developed by Xerox!

The Plot
After a superb start to the season that saw her go 21-3 through Miami, a knee injury kept Li out of Stuttgart, so her clay court debut came later than usual. She was also looking to put behind her bad memories of last year's Madrid opener, in which she managed just five games against Madison Keys. Flipkens also was making her 2014 clay court debut, as a left ankle injury kept her out of Stuttgart. An upset victory would be her fourth Top 10 win and the best of her career, having beaten World No.5 Samantha Stosur at 's-Hertogenbosch in 2012.

The Turning Point
Li was seemingly on the way to a routine win when she went up a set and 5-3. But Flipkens then won three straight games to seize the momentum and actually had two set points on Li's serve at 6-5. Li survived those, though, and got through a tie-break in which no player went up by more than one point until the last point, eventually sealing the 6-1, 7-6(7) triumph.

By The Numbers
Li converted on three of seven break point opportunities, while Flipkens made good on just one of six.

"It was my first match on clay, so in the beginning I had to find my rhythm a little bit, and Li was playing perfect tactically," Flipkens said. "I'm quite satisfied with the way I played in the second set. I had a couple set points. To play against the No.2 in the world in the first round is not an easy draw. Actually I'm quite happy with the way I played today."

"He has been a player. He knows the tour," Flipkens said of new coach and fellow Belgian Xavier Malisse. "He knows what a player needs, what they don't need. We're going to do all the tournaments until Wimbledon and then we'll do an evaluation. I worked with him in Miami for the first time and it worked out well. I feel good with him. I have known him for such a long time. He knows my personality. I know his, so it's easy to work with each other."

What's Next
Li goes up against a player she is quite familiar with, fellow Chinese star Zheng Jie. Li actually trails in their head-to-head, 4-3, but has won three straight in straight sets.

Share this page!

Related news

  • French Open Friday: Renewed Rivalries

    May 27, 2016
    Samantha Stosur, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Barbora Strycova will try to turn around unfavorable head-to-heads as the first week of Roland Garros comes to a close.
  • Venus Cruises Past Chirico

    May 26, 2016
    Former No.1 Venus Williams faced few problems against American qualifier and Mutua Madrid Open semifinalist Louisa Chirico to reach the third round at Roland Garros.
  • Mladenovic Sets Up Serena Meeting

    May 26, 2016
    No.26 seed Kristina Mladenovic thrilled the home court crowd with a two-set win over former doubles partner Timea Babos; top seed Serena Williams looms in the third round.
To The Top