Wimbledon 2014: Li Na pays the price for a lack of practice with exit to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova

 

Wimbledon

The value of getting grass-court matches under your belt in the build-up to Wimbledon was underlined in decisive fashion here as Li Na, the world No 2, went out of the tournament in the third round. The 32-year-old Chinese had decided not to play any tournaments en route to the All England Club and her ring-rustiness showed as she was beaten 7-6, 7-6 by the Czech Republic’s Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

While Li was trying to hone her game on the practice court two weeks ago, Zahlavova Strycova was winning five matches on grass at the Aegon Classic in Edgbaston before losing in the final to Ana Ivanovic. Li has usually played at Eastbourne in the week before Wimbledon but chose this year to take a break from competition following the French Open.

“I’ve always played Eastbourne, but it’s always rainy and windy,” Li said ruefully. “I said: ‘OK, I cannot practise in that.’ I decided that maybe I should change a little bit. I came here pretty early to try to play on the grass courts.

“I think I made the wrong decision. I need to play some matches before. It’s not only about technique. I think sometimes I don’t know how to play the point, especially in the important moments. Today I made a lot of mistakes.”

Zahlavova Strycova, the world No 43, is through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at the 33rd attempt. “Grass suits my game because I play chip and charge,” she said. “I like to play volleys, I like to mix up my game, I play slice.” The 28-year-old, who returned to competition last April after a six-month ban for taking a banned stimulant, had never previously beaten a top-10 player. She now meets Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Croatia’s Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-0.

Wozniacki enjoyed good support from the crowd but insisted afterwards that she does not need sympathy following her split with the golfer Rory McIlroy. “My private life has nothing to do with my tennis,” she said. “I think everyone here wants to make me a victim. I’m not a victim. I’m just playing tennis.”

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen