4th June, 2012
Li Na’s hopes of defending her French Open title ended with a 3-6 6-2 6-0 defeat by world number 142 Yaroslava Shvedova in the fourth round on Monday.
BBCSports report that Li Na, who beat Francesca Schiavone in the 2011 final, struggled with the cool and windy conditions as Shvedova’s greater consistency proved the difference.
The Kazakh qualifier next faces Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or American Varvara Lepchenko.
Maria Sharapova stumbled past Klara Zakopalova 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 same day.
The second seed made 53 unforced errors in a match featuring 21 breaks of serve in 30 games.
But she made it through unlike Li Na, who joins Victoria Azarenka, Serena and Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska among the big-name casualties.
The seventh seed from China – Asia’s first Grand Slam singles champion – was bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend the Roland Garros title since Justine Henin in 2007.
But after a confident start on Court Suzanne Lenglen, the 30-year-old endured a spectacular meltdown in the second set and never recovered.
She finished with 41 errors and was broken seven times by her 24-year-old opponent, 2010 doubles champion at Wimbledon and the US Open.
“I will take some days off to totally forget tennis and then try to come back next week” said Li Na, who hasn’t won a title since her Paris triumph 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro returned on Monday to wrap up victories and advance to the quarter-finals of the French Open.
Play was suspended on Sunday with Tsonga 4-2 up against Stanislas Wawrinka in set five, and the fifth seed won 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 3-6 6-4.
Ninth seed Del Potro led Tomas Berdych by two sets to one overnight and came through 7-6 (8-6) 1-6 6-3 7-5.
David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro also advanced to the last eight.
Sixth seed Ferrer, who could meet Andy Murray next, is still yet to drop a set after his 6-3 6-2 6-0 win against Marcel Granollers.
Almagro’s 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Janko Tipsarevic books him a meeting with either Rafael Nadal or Juan Monaco, who play later on Monday.
If Nadal wins, Spain will have three quarter-finalists, all in the bottom half of the draw.
In the top half, former US Open champion Del Potro proved too strong for seventh seed Berdych and will next play Roger Federer.