31
Dec
11

France defeats China on day one of the Hopman Cup.

Li Na did her bit but it wasn’t enough to lift China to victory in their Hopman Cup teams tennis clash with France in Perth on Saturday. Li came from a set down to defeat world No.9 Marion Bartoli 2-6 6-2 6-4 in the women’s singles but was forced to watch on helplessly as compatriot Wu Di was crushed 6-1 6-3 by Richard Gasquet in the men’s singles. France then romped to victory in the deciding mixed doubles, with Bartoli and Gasquet needing just 42 minutes to sweep to the 6-1 6-1 triumph. Earlier, Bartoli appeared on track for a straight-sets win in the women’s singles after taking the first set in 44 minutes before setting up two break points early in the second set. But Li, who has struggled to recapture top form since winning the French Open earlier this year, showed far more urgency from that point on, winning the last four games of the second set before grinding down Bartoli in the decider.

“At the beginning of the match she was playing so fast. I was like ‘what’s going on’,” Li said. “But after three or four games I got used to it.” Li said her French Open success in May had changed her life in so many ways, but may have also adversely affected her performances. “If I go somewhere to play a tournament, more people know who I am. I lose concentration on the court. I’m only focusing on the photo shooting,” she said with a laugh. “It’s tough after winning a big title, (maintaining) the concentration.”

Australia’s unseeded pairing of Lleyton Hewitt and Jarmila Gajdosova kick off their campaign on Sunday against third-seeded Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

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