Li Na has been a pioneer in tennis. Many of the historical firsts in singles for an Asian player belong to her. However, on day 3 of Roland Garros 2014, the Chinese superstar found herself on the wrong side of history. Following Stanislas Wawrinka’s loss the day before, Li Na’s defeat at the hands of Kristina Mladenovic marked the first time in tennis history that both reigning singles winners at from one Major lost in the first round of the next Major. Oh sure, it’s happened to one of them many times before. On the women’s side in 2000 Lindsey Davenport, like Li Na, won the Australian Open singles title and then lost in the first round of Roland Garros. But both singles champions? Aiya! Li Na is streaky, a big hitter who can paint lines but also spray shots. But I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming.
Unfortunately, I could see Caroline Wozniacki’s upset loss to Yanina Wickmayer coming. Yanina has game, but she hasn’t become all that she can. But on any given day, she can hang with anybody. Plus, Caroline has a few nagging injuries that limited her clay court preparation. Add that to the drama and media attention surrounding her personal life and I wondered if this was an upset in the making. It was. To her credit, she didn’t make a lot of excuses after her loss, though she could have. I think most people, even those that have been critical of her, would likely give her a pass this time. At the end of the day, what happened with her and Rory McIlroy isn’t anybody else’s business. She’s such a bright and positive person. I hope she pulls things together personally and professionally. I think it would be a boon for women’s tennis if she can regain her position as a top 10 player.
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KRISTINA MLADENOVIC (won 7-5 3-6 6-1 vs 2 Li Na)
4 SIMONA HALEP (won 6-0 6-2 vs Alisa Kleybanova)
6 JELENA JANKOVIC (won 5-7 6-1 6-3 vs Sharon Fichman)
10 SARA ERRANI (won 7-5 3-6 6-1 vs Madison Keys)
11 ANA IVANOVIC (won 6-1 6-3 vs Caroline Garcia)
YANINA WICKMAYER (won 7-6 (5) 4-6 6-2 vs 13 Caroline Wozniacki)
15 SLOANE STEPHENS (won 6-4 7-6 (8) vs Peng Shuai)