Number 8 ranked and 7th seeded Na Li, China’s French Open grand slam champion of 2011 and national heroine, took on her countrywoman Shuai Peng, unseeded and ranked 49, in the third round on centre court in the night match of their home tournament. The more experienced Li came back from a set down to win a three set thriller, prevailing 4-6 6-2 7-6 (3).
In a really nail biting match, Li immediately ran into strong competition from Peng, who raced into a 5-0 lead before letting Li back to 4-5, but the lower ranked player held her nerve and served out the set at 6-4. Early on in the second set, Li found her range and each player held serve in the first four games of the second set before Li managed to get a break in the fifth game to go ahead for the first time in the match 3-2, then held a long game which went to deuce for 4-2 and took the next two games for a 6-2 set.
Peng came out serving first in the third set but Li broke straight away, only for Peng to break straight back. Li then took her opponent’s serve yet again and led 3-2, but Peng levelled for 3-3 and went ahead 4-3 and 5-3, with Li coming back to 4-5 with her serve to come – and duly held for 5-5. Peng held for 6-5 and so did Li, to take this extraordinary third set to a tie break which Li eventually won 7-2 to seal a marathon match and take her place in the quarters, where she will play Agnieszka Radwanska, who came through a very tough two set match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
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