Li spearheads Asia's Open push
Updated: 2011-01-20 08:01
China's Li Na cruised into the Australian Open's third round on Wednesday to maintain hopes of a first Asian Grand Slam singles title, as Japan's Kei Nishikori also progressed.
Ninth-seeded Li downed Russia's Evgeniya Rodina 6-3, 6-2 to stay on track, while Japanese idol Nishikori beat Florian Mayer of Germany in four sets. China's Peng Shuai will play her second match on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Li is riding a wave of confidence after shocking favourite Kim Clijsters in this month's Sydney International final, and following her run to last year's Australian Open semis.
"I won last week so maybe I feel more confident. I just hope I'll continue to take this confidence and see how far away I can go," she said.
Li, who beat Sophie Arvidsson of Sweden in straight sets in the first round before accounting for Rodina on Wednesday, added she still had room to improve.
"I didn't feel special tonight," she said. "This girl, I didn't know anything about her before. I didn't see her practice, I didn't practice with her.
"I was thinking that many balls I hit were winners, but she still came back and hit them deep and she ran me around a lot today."
Li now plays Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova ahead of a possible fourth round clash against Belarusian eighth seed Victoria Azarenka.
She could then meet Venus Williams in the quarterfinals in a rematch of 2010, when Li shocked the American to reach the final four.
"I only look one round ahead because before, I always looked at the draw and thought 'Oh, I can be in the quarterfinal or something', and I always lost in the first round, second round," she said.
"After that I just said, 'Okay focus, don't think about it too much'."
(China Daily 01/20/2011 page24)
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