NEW YORK (Reuters) - China’s Li Na has waited a year for another crack at Britain’s Laura Robson and moved one step closer to getting her chance for revenge by dismissing Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Li’s 6-2 6-2 victory lifted the 2011 French Open champion into the third round at Flushing Meadows, where she will meet either Robson or Caroline Garcia of France.
Robson, 19, eliminated Li in the third round at Flushing Meadows last year.
“After last year I think both players improved a lot. I’m really looking forward to playing against her,” Li told reporters about a possible rematch against former Wimbledon junior champion Robson.
“For sure, really challenging, a lefty, aggressive player. Also, I can prove myself after one year whether I can do better than last year.”
Li, 31, believes she has improved since taking on Carlos Rodriguez as her coach last year, although it has been a process.
“The first one or two months we have, he didn’t talk too much, because he have to see what I’m doing,” world number six Li said after her victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium court before a light rain suspended play at the U.S. Tennis Center.
“After, I think especially in the winter training, we talk a lot. Not every day, but every second day we talk a lot to know each other pretty much,” she added about Rodriguez, a former coach of seven-times grand slam winner Justine Henin.
“I was feeling pretty happy the way he is like now. We are communicating.”
Li, a sporting trailblazer in China with more than 10 million fans on Chinese social media, said her relationship with a coach influenced more than just tactics and technique.
“I was feeling that a coach for me not only is about tennis coaching. He teaches me a lot like off of the court. He tells me a lot of experience, especially in press conference. Communication with friends, with family, so many things.”
Reporting by Larry Fine