Rusty Li plays like "junior" in Toronto Cup loss
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO (Reuters) - French Open champion Li Na played like a "junior" while Vera Zvonareva, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova were all also sent packing after rusty performances in the third round at the Toronto Cup Thursday.
Serena Williams, unseeded following an 11-month layoff that ended in June, emerged as a tournament favorite with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win over Chinese qualifier Zheng Jie that puts her into the quarter-final of a draw without 12 of its 16 seeded players.
Li, who had a first-round bye and a walkover in the second round after her opponent withdrew, looked out of sorts during a 6-2 6-4 loss to number 10 seed Samantha Stosur played during a power outage that kept the main scoreboard dark for an hour.
"At the beginning of the match I was like -- I didn't even know what I should do on the court, not like during the clay court season," Li, seeded sixth, told reporters. "I know exactly if I hit the ball next here, I come back, what I should do. But I was feeling like a junior on the court."
Li, playing in her first match since a shock exit in the second round of Wimbledon, had five double faults in another day of windy conditions, struggled with the high bounce of Stosur's serve and was unable to break her opponent.
Sharapova fell 6-3 7-5 to 26-year-old Kazakhstani qualifier Galina Voskoboeva, who has become an upset specialist this week after having beaten three top 25 players en route to a berth in the quarter-final.
Fifth-seed Sharapova said time off after a packed schedule surrounding the French Open and Wimbledon was likely to have played a role in a shaky performance where she committed five double faults and had her serve broken five times.
"All of us give ourselves a little bit of a vacation after that because we are on the road and traveling for back-to-back grand slams," she told reporters. "After that it takes everyone a little bit of time to get the rust off and to get going." Continued...