Osaka Needs ‘Desire’ To Go Further Says Li Na

Retired Chinese tennis player Li Na poses for a photo after the interview with AFP during the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open 2018 on October 7, 2018.Photo: Philip FONG / AFP


Chinese tennis great Li Na said US Open champion Naomi Osaka can go on and win multiple Grand Slam titles — if she can find the inner desire to match her physical abilities.

Osaka has admitted feeling burdened by expectations after last month’s stunning victory in New York, saying she puts pressure on herself to “do more, do better”.

The 20-year-old world number fourth was also in tears after her “bittersweet” US Open win, which was marred by Serena Williams’ explosive row by the chair umpire.

“I believe with her abilities and strength, she can win many (Grand Slam titles) — that is if she really has the desire to be a champion,” Li told AFP ahead of the Hong Kong Open.

Osaka, Asia’s second Grand Slam singles champion after Li, has pulled out of the Hong Kong tournament with a back injury.

Williams, 37, brought a halt to her season after the US Open final, where her latest attempt at a record-equalling 24th major title ended in acrimony.

But Li, the former French Open and Australian Open winner who retired in 2014, cautioned that it was unwise to judge Williams, who is back on the circuit after becoming a mother last September.

“Looking at the players from the sidelines, we might not really understand some of their psychological goings-on on the court,” said Li.

“I’ve always thought she is a very strong player. There are very few players who can give birth and then immediately come back out,” she added.

“For me, it’s really hard to find a balance between family and the tennis court, but she very quickly got into the US Open final.”

Li is often credited with igniting tennis interest in Asia and especially in China, but she said the sport still had a long way to go.

“Tennis in Asia is still in its adolescence. We have just passed the infancy stage, so we can still go a lot further,” said Li.


Wimbledon Open: Li Na Crashes Out, Djokovic Advances Despite Injury Scare


Second seed, Li Na, was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) by Barbora Strycova in the third round of the women’s singles.

China’s Li was badly out of sorts against her Czech opponent, who will play 16th seed Caroline Wozniacki next.

Australian Open champion Li, 32, has not advanced beyond the third round in eight appearances at Wimbledon and lost in the first round at this year’s French Open.

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki reached round four with a 6-3 6-0 defeat of Croatia’s Ana Konjuh.

Romania’s third seed, Simona Halep, runner up at this year’s French Open, reached round three with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

Twenty-two year old, Halep will play world number 71 Belinda Bencic next after the Swiss player beat American Victoria Duval 6-4 7-5.

Russian Ekaterina Makarova, seeded 22, also reached the fourth round with a 7-5 6-3 defeat of France’s Caroline Garcia.

In the men category, top seed Novak Djokovic moved into the fourth round of the men’s singles with a comfortable 6-4 6-2 6-4 defeat of Frenchman Gilles Simon despite injury scare.

The world number two will play 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next after the Frenchman beat Jimmy Wang 6-2 6-2 7-5.

Djokovic was leading 3-2 in the third set and seemingly closing in on an uneventful victory when he dived to reach a forehand and appeared to twist his left arm.

The 2011 champion looked in extreme pain but a trainer manipulated his shoulder and the 27-year-old was able to continue.

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson beat 16th seed Fabio Fognini in five sets.

Anderson, the 20th seed, won 4-6 6-4 2-6 6-2 6-1 and will play Britain’s Andy Murray in round four, if the defending champion wins his third-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut.


Serena Wins Record Seventh Miami Title

Serena WilliamsWorld number one, Serena Williams, cruised to 7-5 6-1 victory over Li Na to win the Sony Open and secure a seventh Miami title.

In a battle between the world’s two top players, the 32-year old continued her domination over the second ranked Li, needing two hours on centre court to run her record to 11-1 against the Australian Open champion.

With this victory, the American retained the crown she won last year and also her second title of the season.

“It was really important victory, especially against Li Na,” said Williams. “She started so well and if it hadn’t have been for the fans I don’t think I could have pulled through.

“At 5-2 down in the first set, I felt I had nothing to lose. I started to relax and, when I relax, I play my best tennis.”

China’s Li, the world number two, has not beaten Williams in six years and has lost 11 out of 12 matches overall.

This win in Miami is also her 59th career WTA triumph and extended her winning streak against top-10 ranked opponents to 15 matches.

Serena Faces Li Na In WTA Final

World number one, Serena Williams will be hoping to become the first player since Justine Henin in 2007 to retain the WTA championships title.

The American, already guaranteed to end the season on top of the world rankings outclassed Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semi-final of the tournament in Istanbul, Turkey.

Serena will face Li Na in Sunday’s final after the Chinese defeated Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-4 6-2 in the other semi-final clash.

Li will climb to third in the rankings and is now the highest-ranked player ever from an Asian country.

U.S. Open Final 16:18 year old Robson stuns Li Na

Laura Robson has landed herself in the last 16 of the U.S. Open taking place in New York as she ran over China’s Li Na.

The 18-year-old became the first British women to reach the final 16 at the US Open since 1991 as she now focuses on her next opponent.

Robson was in fine form at the Louis Armstrong Stadium with a fantastic 6-4 6-7 6-2 victory over the 2011 French Open champion.

Speaking after the match, Robson, who also knocked out Kim Clijsters earlier in the tournament, said she knew that if she kept sticking with Li Na and playing her shots it might payoff for her and she is glad that the game plan paid off even though she lost the few break points she had had to the her much more experience opponent but she took her chance when it showed up.

Commenting on Li Na, Robson said she is a great hitter and she will have to go back to the gym to recover for her next match as she will now be facing Aussie Samantha Stosur in the next round.

Rome Masters: Serena to play Li Na in semis as Nadal ousters Berdych

Serena Williams recorded an easy passage as she majestically strolled into the semi-final of the Rome Masters on Friday when Italian Flavia Pennetta gave up her chance for a place in the semi-finals as she left with a right wrist injury.

Ranked 21, Flavia was treated when she called for medical attention with 3-0 down after which she decided to quit when the scoreline was 4-0  and 40-0 against and in favour of Serena Williams.

According Serena she wasn’t happy with her mode of qualification but it was nice to have a semi-day off.

The American will be meeting China’s Li Na in the semi-final who is the defending champion of the French Open, a match Serena qualified as a test for her playing ability, an ability that won her the Madrid title last week.

Li Na beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 7-6 to reach the semis.

Williams is looking forward to the French Open also as she displayed confident ahead of the Open come May 27th.

After being side-lined from July 2010 to June 2011 because of a blood clot in one of her lungs, the world number six said she was now feeling more confident than last summer, when she won back-to-back tournaments before losing in the final at the U.S. Open.

Meanwhile in the men’s game, Rafa  Nadal flowed into the semi-final of the Italian Open in fashion he has never done in months as he struck his mark better with an impressive 6-4 7-5 victory over Czech Tomas Berdych today.

Nadal who is presently rated number three in the world is aiming to clinch the title a sixth time as he came from behind to claim victory against the Czech.

Spaniard David Ferrer will be his next opponent in the semis as Ferrer also edged out Frenchman Richard Gasquest with 7-6 6-3 scoreline.

Later today, World number one Novak Djokovic will be facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France while Roger Federer, the winner in Madrid for the men’s will face Italian Andreas Seppi.