Romanian teen Simona Halep ushered No. 6 seed and reigning French Open champion Na Li out of the US Open 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday, a remarkable result on a couple fronts.
Li, lacking the happy-go-lucky court demeanor that gained her fans around the world during her run in Paris, appeared distracted and severely lacking in confidence in a display that included 54 unforced errors and much frowning.
“French Open is like three months (ago) already,” said Na, addressing her game dropping off the cliff Ana Ivanovic-style. “I mean, is enough time to forget.”
The 29-year-old Li reportedly used an expletive to describe her effort, and after the match buried her face in a towel.
“I really want to do well after Roland Garros, but, you know, I mean, it’s not easy to do,” said Li, who has a 6-5 win-loss record since winning at Roland Garros. “Now I even lose all the confidence on the court.”
Halep, who last year was the subject of an internet campaign by fans to not go through with a planned breast reduction, did little more than keep the ball in play and let Li implode, striking only five winners over the two sets.
The teen, a former French Open junior champion, had been an internet tissues-and-lotion sensation with her ample bosoms, which measured 34DD. She said the prize-winning melons were not only a distraction (aside, we guess, from some cheesecake photos she engaged in featuring the flotilla), but uncomfortable and caused her back pain.
She spent part of the summer of 2010 recovering from the breast reduction surgery, which dropped her to a more comfortable two-palm-grab 34C.
As she explained to her internet army of bathroom waste-basket fillers at the time, “It’s the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play…I don’t like them in my everyday life, either. I would have gone for surgery even if I hadn’t been a sportswoman.”
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki had little trouble Tuesday in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Nuria Llagostera Vives, but got testy with the media afterwards when asked one too many ‘Why can’t you win a Slam?’ questions.
“I know that everyone has to write their stories, but I think it’s — we should move on,” Wozniacki said. “Ask me about something else, something more interesting.”
Other Top 10 winners Tuesday were No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, No. 7 Francesca Schiavone outlasting Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, and No. 10 Andrea Petkovic.
No. 21 Daniela Hantuchova was another seeded exit, losing to Pauline Parmentier, and Mona Barthel topped No. 32 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
More unseeded winners of note were former Top 5er Jelena Dokic, Alize Cornet, former No. 1 junior Arantxa Rus, Mirjana Lucic, and Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens.
No. 28 seed Serena Williams was the final night match, putting her ample bosoms behind her weight of shot to unceremoniously pound Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 6-1.
Matches to look for Wednesday include Venus Williams vs. (22) Sabine Lisicki, Belarus’ Anastasiya Yakimova vs. (3) Maria Sharapova, American comer Madison Keys vs. (27) Lucie Safarova, American comer Coco Vandeweghe vs. (9) Samantha Stosur, (8) Marion Bartoli vs. American comer Christina McHale, (14) Dominika Cibulkova vs. former NCAA champ Irina Falconi, and an all-Russian in Vera Dushevina vs. (25) Maria Kirilenko.
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