Australian Open champion Li Na will begin her campaign at the Sony Open with a second round match-up against Alisa Kleybanova. This will be the second time they meet on the professional tour, with Li leading the head-to-head series 1-0.
After achieving her second Grand Slam title this year in Melbourne, Li has been unable to follow through with that momentum, losing in the third round in Doha and the semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open. While the majority of her fortnight at Indian Wells was a relatively strong one, Li Na will be looking to successfully rebound from a disappointing semi-final exit to Flavia Pennetta, where she performed well below her usual standard. Prior to that, she had defeated Karolina Pliskova, Aleksandra Wozniak and Dominika Cibulkova to reach the final four in the California Desert.
World No. 112 Alisa Kleybanova continued her comeback from cancer with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Meltzer to set up the second round clash with Li Na. The former world No. 20 will be outmatched in this upcoming bout but will look to gradually regain her footing on the WTA tour.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Li leading the series 1-0. Their last meeting was almost four years ago in Beijing, where the Chinese No. 1 earned a straightforward 6-1, 6-4 win. She will look for another quick victory en route to the third round in Miami.
Prediction: Li Na in Straight Sets