Li in fine form as Azarenka bows out
Originally published on 25/06/14
A three-time quarter-finalist at the All England Club, Li was the first player to book her place in the third round with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger.
Li, who suffered a disappointing first-round defeat at the French Open, will now take on Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Friday for a place in the last 16.
Li could potentially face 2011 champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals and either two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka or Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Li at the All England Club last year, in the last four. But the Chinese No.1 insists she is not thinking about next week.
“Easy to say, tough to do,” she said. "You know, this is tennis. [It is] pretty easy to think about second week. But for me, if I want to push myself, at least I have to win another match and to come to the second week and then think about [that].”
Azarenka, playing in only her second tournament after returning from a foot injury, was beaten by Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3 3-6 7-5. The world No.8 looked to be on course for the third round when she battled back to win the second set, but her inability to take her chances proved costly – the Belarusian converted just three of her 16 break point chances.
"I created a lot of things to make happen for me today, I just didn't use any of those opportunities," she admitted. "All that stuff I built up but I was not taking advantage which wasn't great. She played well. I dont want to take credit away from her, but I always look at what I did. Today I didn't convert  break points, that is just ridiculous to me."
No.4 seed Radwanska, the 2012 runner-up, enjoyed her first match on Centre Court this year as she defeated Casey Dellacqua 6-4 6-0, while former champion Kvitova looked in fine form as she raced past Mona Barthel 6-2 6-0. The No.6 seed will face Venus Williams in the third round after the five-time champion defeated Japan's Kurumi Nara 7-6(4) 6-1. Kvitova has beaten the former world No.1 three times in four previous encounters but the pair have never met on grass.
"She's a big champion here as well," Kvitova said. "She likes to play on the grass, and I'm totally the same. I'm looking forward for this match. I think it's going to be great fight. Of course we played in Doha I think, and in then Tokyo. Always very tough match, so I'm expecting the same."
Elsewhere, there were good wins for 16-year-old Ana Konjuh and France's Caroline Garcia who both reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time with victories over Yanina Wickmayer and Varvara Lepchenko respectively.