Li Na easily defeats one 16-year-old, faces another in round two
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- After researching on YouTube a 16-year-old opponent she'd never seen play before, Li Na will have to do it all over again for her next round at the Australian Open against another 16-year-old unknown to her.
Li was nearly flawless Monday at a place she usually plays well, beating Ana Konjuh of Croatia 6-2, 6-0 in 61 minutes in the first round at Melbourne Park.
''Like zero, you know,'' Li said when asked what she knew about Konjuh's game ahead of the match.
''I tried to find her game in YouTube, and I watched a couple of games. But it was still strange at the beginning of the match because I really didn't know the way she played on the court.'' Konjuh is the defending Australian Open and U.S. Open junior champion.
Li is a two-time finalist at the Australian Open, who lost finals at Melbourne Park to Victoria Azarenka last year and Kim Clijsters in 2011. She says the Australian Open ''is my favorite Grand Slam.'' She's in the same half of the draw as No. 1-ranked Serena Williams, who was scheduled to play a night match against Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty.
On Monday, Li frequently strayed from her traditional baseline position, several times volleying from the center of the court for winners during the fourth game of the second set when she broke Konjuh's service.
Li will spend her off-day Tuesday studying any available video on qualifier Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the reigning French Open and Wimbledon junior champion who beat 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan in three sets earlier Monday.
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