Czech-mate for Li in Wimbledon third round

Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:40pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - Li Na's husband was granted an unexpected breather from his usual duties of "fixing the drinks and fixing the rackets" and "doing a lot of jobs" for his famous wife after the Australian Open champion suffered a shock third round exit at Wimbledon.

Six months after thanking her long-suffering husband Jiang Shan in a hilarious Melbourne Park victory speech, during which she also praised her agent for "making me rich", Li let down her billion-strong Chinese fan base by bowing out early from the grasscourt major.

Jiang at least will be relieved that his wife did not hold him, or his loud snoring, responsible for Friday's result.

Instead, she blamed herself for the 7-6(5) 7-6(5) defeat by the Czech Republic's Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

"I made the wrong decision. I need to play some matches before the big one," the world No.2 told reporters.

"I always play (the warm-up event in) Eastbourne every year, but (it's) always raining and windy. I say, 'Okay, I cannot practice in that'."

The gamble of opting out of playing in any grasscourt events over the past fortnight backfired on Friday as Li continued her unhappy association with Wimbledon.

A champion on red clay at Roland Garros in 2011 and on the hard courts of Melbourne in January, grass has proved to be tougher surface for Li to conquer.   Continued...

Li Na of China hits a return to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 27, 2014.   REUTERS/Max Rossi