Second seed Li self-destructs, Murray through in Paris

Tue May 27, 2014 3:20pm EDT
 
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By Robert Woodward

PARIS (Reuters) - Li Na, the Australian Open champion, followed her male counterpart Stanislas Wawrinka out of the French Open in the first round when she lost 7-5 3-6 6-1 to local favorite Kristina Mladenovic on Tuesday.

The second seed from China, who won the Roland Garros title in 2011, acknowledged she had handed victory to the Frenchwoman through her own failings on another chilly day in Paris.

"I think it doesn't matter who plays today against me, I always lose the match. Today I just gave it away," said Li. "Nobody says if you're No. 2 in the world you have to win all the matches.

"The problem is myself, I don't think I'm doing well on the court. I didn't think totally what I should do, like especially I didn't follow the game plan. In my mind I didn't have any idea how to play the match."

David Ferrer, runner-up last year to eight-times champion Rafa Nadal, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and local favorite Richard Gasquet reached the second round, but 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov was blasted out of the draw by big-serving Ivo Karlovic.

Murray, who missed last year's claycourt grand slam with a back injury, was the only one of the trio to drop a set in a 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3 defeat of Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev. Men's seeds Tommy Haas and Nicolas Almagro were forced to withdraw injured.

Li's defeat made it the first time that men's and women's grand slam champions have been knocked out in the following major in the first round. Wawrinka, the Swiss third seed, lost to Spain's Guillermo Garcia Lopez in four sets on Monday.

Mladenovic saved two set points in the opener, lost focus in the second but stepped up a gear again in the decider to triumph on her second match point.   Continued...

 
Li Na of China returns a forehand to Kristina Mladenovic of France during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 27, 2014.                      REUTERS/Stephane Mahe