French Open champion Li Na of China experienced a disastrous exit from Wimbledon in the second round on Thursday, twice failing to serve out of match, then wasting two match points before losing to German Sabine Lisicki 8-6 in the third.
Na’s forehand failed her on the surface that suits her game even better than the Roland Garros clay, while Lisicki’s big serve, including 17 aces, kept her in the match.
“The crowd really helped me when I was facing two match points,” Lisicki told reporters. “They cheered so loudly, I have never heard such a noise.”
Serena Williams meanwhile, trying to play her way into the tournament, fought through another three-set test in downing unseeded Romanian Simona Halep 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Afterwards Serena, when asked why she was shuttered to Court 2 instead of one of the show courts, had no answer.
“Yeah…ummm…I don’t know,” Serena said, measuring her words. “They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out.”
Williams will next face No. 26 seed Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Thai qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn 7-5, 7-5.
“I’m hoping to get better as the event goes on,” Williams told reporters. “It was really windy out there in the first set. I was tight and I told myself to relax more. I need to play longer matches and get more practice.”
A number of players, like world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, found their scheduled matches cancelled, and a number of players left matches unfinished due to rains and delays.
Other winners of note Thursday were No. 6 Francesca Schiavone, Czech Petra Cetkovska ousting No. 13 Aggie Radwanska in three, veteran Nadia Petrova upsetting No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Czech Klara Zakopalova defeating No. 31 Lucie Safarova in three.
Matches to look for on Friday’s schedule at the All England Club are (25) Daniela Hantuchova vs. (4) Victoria Azarenka, Brit Laura Robson vs. (5) Maria Sharapova, the all-court Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez vs. (23) Venus Williams, (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Virginie Razzano, (19) Yanina Wickmayer vs. (12) Svetlana Kuznetsova, and (8) Petra Kvitova vs. grasscourt warm-up winner (29) Roberta Vinci.
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