London, June 24 :
Chinese superstar Li Na overcame an unexpectedly stern test from Polish qualifier Paula Kania to emerge a 7-5, 6-2 winner in the opening round of the Wimbledon championships here Monday.
Kania, the world No.183, had previously lost in qualifying at five consecutive Slams; and this was not only her Grand Slam main draw debut, but also her Tour level main draw debut, in her 20th attempt, reports Xinhua.
Despite the gulf in experience, it was Li Na, playing her first match since a surprise French Open exit, who started more nervously, slipping an early break behind.
As the contest went on, though, the Chinese ace gradually settled into her rhythm on Centre Court, breaking back before eventually taking the set with a terrific forehand winner into the corner.
The No. 2 seed continued in the ascendency in the second, breaking four more times to canter into a second round meeting with Yvonne Meusburger.
“When you come onto the court, there is always some tension,” Li Na said.
“Also, it doesn’t matter how you play in practice, when you come to the match you still feel nervous. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been on the tour because you never know what will happen in the first match in a major.”