Wimbledon 2014: Li Na displays her unerring ability to find the corners and overcome Yvonne Meusburger in straight-sets

Na overcame the Austrian 6-2 6-2 in the first round

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The Independent Online

By the age of 30 tennis players come to be regarded as senior citizens. So imagine how Kimiko Date-Krumm, 44 in September, feels.

She keeps coming back for more year after year and has promised to do again in 2015 despite  going out in the first round on Monday after holding a 5-0 lead in the first set.

There were 16 thirty-somethings in the women's draw, and two of them met out on Court Two, where the second seed Li Na overcame Austria's Yvonne Meusburger in straight sets after a sluggish start.

For all their respective years on the tour it was a first direct meeting and Li must have been a little disconcerted by the number of times her opponent broke off her service because of dissatisfaction with her high ball-toss.

Had they been playing out there last night, when a real wind was swirling around, the match would never have been finished. Even the slightest breeze seemed to distract Meusburger as she threw the ball high in the air.


Each player had their service broken in the opening two games but being 1-2 and 0-30 down was as bad as it got for Li. A little loose early on but with an otherwise unerring ability to find the corners, she took the first set 6-2 and the second by the same comfortable margin, rounding things off with a backhand volley at the net.

Having added this year's Australian Open to a previous success at Roland Garros, she is now seeded to go well beyond her best finish here - a quarter-final, three times - and to meet Serena Williams in the final on Saturday week.

Meanwhile the first match of the day on Court Three brought a popular victory for the 31 year-old Venus Williams in one of those almost comical Little v Large contrasts.

The strapping 6ft 1in Williams, who virtually changed the face of women's tennis with the power game also taken up by her younger sister, eventually blew away Japan's Kurumi Nara, a full foot shorter, by 7-6, 6-1. 

The American, eight times a finalist here and five times a winner, has been suffering from  Sjogren's syndrome, a debilitating autoimmune disease, meaning she cannot practice as much as she would like and is ranked no higher than No 31.

After an even first set, however, she was imperious in winning six points in a row to take the tie-break and then six successive games to in the second set.

"That's when it comes down to who's going to be more aggressive and consistent," she said of the tie-break.

Now a third round match against another former champion Petra Kvitova looms if the Czech comes through against Mona Barthel later.