After yesterday’s piece predicting glory for Chinese finest tennis player, I thought a follow up might be in order. Li Na battled from a set down to force a decider against the 4th seed Agneiszka Radwanska and saved seven match points in total, but finally succumbed 6-7, 6-4, 2-6 in what the Guardian called one of the most engaging matches of the tournament so far. So she won’t be winning Wimbledon any time soon, if ever.
But this match could have been very different: in fact, Li actually “won” the first set, sending down a good serve at 5-4 and 40-30, which was called out. As it is, she lost after 2 hours and 43 minutes and will never have a better chance to win Wimbledon – or perhaps any major tournament – again.
At 31, time is no longer on her side, especially now that a new crop of players appear to be maturing. Half of the quarterfinalists at Wimbledon, for example, were 24 or younger. Li has always done well on the hard courts – twice a finalist at the Australian Open – so she’ll be confident heading into the US Open later this year, but you can bet that the top three seeds won’t crash out early in New York as they did in London.
Li Na likes nothing more than to prove her doubters wrong, but I’m guessing that missed opportunity to challenge that serve in the first set might give her one or two nightmares over the next few weeks.