Bethanie knocks out Li Na

American overpowers former champion in rain-hit tie; Djokovic marches on

Bethanie knocks out Li Na

China’s only Grand Slam singles champion Li Na was bundled out of the French Open by American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Thursday, losing a rain-interrupted match 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Sixth seed Li, who became a flag-bearer for Asian tennis in 2011 when she won the French Open, edged the first set but after two lengthy rain breaks her game fell apart.Mattek-Sands, wearing knee-high black socks, resumed after the second interruption 4-3 ahead in the second set and then reeled off seven games in a row.

Li eventually stopped the rot to break serve as Mattek-Sands served for the match at 5-0 and then held her own to reduce the deficit but her revival came too late.

With rain still falling and play stopped on many other courts the 66th-ranked American held her nerve and sealed victory when her opponent netted a forehand.

Third seed Victoria Azarenka overcame a first-set stumble to reach the third round with a rain-disrupted 6-4, 6-3 win over German Annika Beck on Thursday. The Belarussian, Australian Open champion the last two years, raced to a 5-0 lead and was 5-1 up when the match was interrupted by rain on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Beck benefited from a series of unforced errors from Azarenka to reduce the gap and led 30-0 on her opponent's serve at 5-4 when the World No 3 regained composure and clinched the opening set after 69 minutes. The second set was straightforward as Azarenka booked a third-round meeting with French 31st seed Alize Cornet or Spain's Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Novak Djokovic’s title credentials were given the lightest of examinations in a 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 second-round win over Argentina’s Guido Pella.

The World No 1 had the stronger weapons and pushed his opponent on to the back foot with his superior courtcraft in a match that lasted just one hour and 26 minutes after being delayed by rain and then halted again when the downpours returned.

After the players traded blows at the start of the match, Djokovic won 11 games in a row, taking the first and second sets.

The crowd rose in unison to applaud the 101st-ranked Pella when he won a game in the second game of the third set but it was a short-lived reprieve as the Serb closed the match out. 

Grigor Dimitrov geared up for a third-round clash with Djokovic with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 dismissal of French teenager Lucas Pouille.

The Bulgarian 26th seed, who beat Djokovic in the second round of the Madrid claycourt Masters earlier this month, had too much in store for his opponent, who bowed out after sending a forehand into the net.

Dimitrov, 22, had done most of the job before the first of two rain interruptions. He finished it off in ruthless style, moving Pouille left and right with great authority.Former women’s runner-up Samantha Stosur took advantage of the two periods of play to reach the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic on centre court.

The Australian next faces 18th seed Jelena Jankovic in a repeat of their 2010 semifinal after the Serbian won 12 successive games to beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-0.Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova became the day’s first seed to fall, the 27th seed losing to Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea.

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun withdrew from the tournament with an ankle injury before he took to court to face 16th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Victor Hanescu of Romania also benefitted from another player’s ill-fortune when his second-round opponent Dmitry Tursunov was forced to retire trailing 6-4, 6-6.
Second round results (prefix denotes seeding): Men’s singles: 27-Fabio Fognini (Ita) bt Lukas Rosol (Cze) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-1; 1-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Guido Pella (Arg) 6-2, 6-0, 6-2; 13-Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Grega Zemlja (Svn) 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4; 26-Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) bt Lucas Pouille (Fra) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1; 16-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) w/o Lu Yen-Hsun (Tai).

Women’s singles: 3-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Annika Beck (Ger) 6-4, 6-3; 7-Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Peng Shuai (Chn) 6-4, 6-3; Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) beat 6-Li Na (Chn) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Marina Erakovic (NZ) bt 16-Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4; 17-Sloane Stephens (US) bt Vania King (US) 6-1, 6-3; Paula Ormaechea (Arg) bt 27-Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6); 9-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) 6-4, 6-3; 18-Jelena Jankovic (Srb) bt Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Esp) 6-3, 6-0.

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