World no.5 Li Na very surprisingly lost her first round match at the China Open to a Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-0. For Li Na, this was the first appearance in Beijing since winning the French Open 2011 title. The Chinese has been struggling with form recently and hasn’t been able to produce the tennis that won her the French Open crown.
“I have just lost all confidence,” Li told reporters after the match. She is being coached by her husband and she still believes in him.”On the court, I don’t know what I can do. It was tough even winning one point. I asked my coach (husband Jiang Shan) to advise me. I know what he said was exactly right, but I couldn’t do it.”
For Niculescu, this was a highlight of her career up till now and she must have upset millions of chinese people watching the match. “I’m a little bit surprised that I beat her, but I really thought that I played good. You play a match and somebody has to win and somebody has to lose,” Niculescu said after the match.
Other chinese player Shuai Zhang, granted a wildcard, got beaten by Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in straight sets 6-0, 6-2.
In the other matches US Open champion Samantha Stosur eliminated Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-0 and the former no.1 Serbian Ana Ivanovic stunned Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm by defeating her 6-1,6-1.