French Open Day 3: Li Na and Dimitrov dumped out
Originally published on 27/05/14
On another overcast day at Roland Garros, No.2 seed Li went down 7-5 3-6 6-1 to France’s Kristina Mladenovic, less than 24 hours after Stan Wawrinka also crashed out.
The Chinese is the first Australian Open women’s champion to lose in the first round in Paris since Lindsay Davenport in 2000 and admitted she was well below her best.
“I don't think I'm doing well. If I doing well, I believe I still can win the match if it's not my best day," she said. "But I don't think today I try a lot. Nobody says if you are No. 2 in the world you have to win all the matches. I mean, this is tennis. I think it doesn't matter who plays against me today, I always lose the match, because I don't think she … put a lot of pressure [on] me. I think today just I gave it away."
Li’s exit means the draw has opened up for fourth seed Simona Halep, who breezed past Alisa Kleybanova 6-0 6-2 in the first match on Court Philippe Chatrier.
However, Grigor Dimitrov was another high-profile casualty as he was stunned 6-4 7-5 7-6(4) by big-serving Ivo Karlovic.
The No.11 seed struggled to make any impact against the in-form Croatian, who contested his first clay-court final for seven years in Dusseldorf at the weekend. Karlovic fired down 22 aces and held his serve throughout the match as he recorded his first win at Roland Garros since 2007.
"It’s never easy to play against Ivo,” said Dimitrov, who won just 19 of 95 points on return of serve “Of course, it's a big disappointment for me. I liked my chances here. I’ve been playing good tennis on the clay courts, so I don't want to be too disappointed.
“He played really good. He came from playing a final last week and was really confident. It was a very tough task for me today, especially if everything was going his way. I just couldn't find my rhythm and I couldn't convert any of the little opportunities that I had in the match.”
Last year’s runner-up David Ferrer reached the second round for the 12th straight year with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 win over Igor Sijsling.
Heather Watson won her ninth match in a row as she beat Czech Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova 6-3 6-4 in the first round. The British No.2 was ranked 29 places below her opponent but put in an impressive performance to prevail in 95 minutes and set up a meeting with Halep in the second round.
"I didn't feel I played as well as I have been today, but she's a very different sort of player," said Watson. "She is very tricky. She hits drop shots and comes to the net on random balls, not usually the 'right balls', to throw you off. So it's different playing a different opponent. I just had to deal with what I was given today.”
To view photos from the French Open taken by tennishead photographer Mike Frey visit www.amnimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Roland-Garros-2014/G0000qkr26qLI4L8/