Friday, 18 January 2013

Li Na wins but far from 2011 form

Li Na the 6th seed had Sorana Cirstea from Romania as the third round hurdle to clear. It should not be too difficult considering the form that she has displayed so far this season with a win in China and semi final in Sydney.  Cirstea has shown potential but never quite achieved the level expected of her and she sits at number 29 in the world.

The opening games went to the server despite only one first delivery out of 10 making its mark between the two players.  At 40-30 Sorana hoped that the trend might continue for her, but with Li Na nothing is ever resolved until the last ball is unhit.  The break of serve occurred and despite Sorana's best endeavours to grab it straight back, Li Na managed to survive the danger and lead 3-1.

With still more break opportunities in the next game, it was clear that serving for these girls did not bring with it necessary advantage.  In a standard of match far lower than what we had seen with Kerber and Keys, Li Na twice let slip a double advantage, once at 4-1 and then again at 5-2.  Too many unforced mistakes were spoiling what should have been an entertaining duel, given the respective talents.

Li Na, as the best players inevitably do, ground her way to the 6-4 set win in a pretty unconvincing performance and one she probably won't keep for anything but Funniest Home Videos.  For Sorana the plight couldn't be much worse.  Li Na at her most vulnerable and not able to capitalise.  In the second set the likelihood of Li Na retaining the moderate level of competence was indeed low.

We did not have the opportunity to see Li at her best in Set 2 either because Sorana was missing and Li not called on for anything much at all.  The Romanian did not win a point in either of her first two service games and so 4-0 to Li Na was not only a present but beautifully gift wrapped.  5-0 when Sorana only reemerged in time to win a couple of points on serve but still drop it.

Li Na lost concentration during this period and also lost her serve when attempting to put a merciful cessation to the carnage, but given another shot at it no such drama and the second round match came to a close.  Li Na played perhaps two thirds of a set of good tennis in defeating a very disappointing and disappointed Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-1.

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