Li stunned by qualifier Shvedova, Sharapova survives a close call

Wilson Blade 9

Serena Williams is out, Agnieszka Radwanska is out, Victoria Azarenka is out, last year’s runner-up and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone is out and now defending champion Li Na also waved goodbye, while Maria Sharapova kept herself in the game, but only after digging deep into the Roland Garros clay.

The seventh-seeded Li won the first set against world No. 142 Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, but trailing 3-6 2-2 Shvedova won 10 straight games and sent the last year’s titlist home 3-6 6-2 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals of Roland Garros. Two year’s ago, Shvedova, then ranked No.36, was also a quarterfinalist in Paris, beating Sara Errani, Agnieszka Radwanska, Alisa Kleybanova and Jarmila Gajdosova on the way. Then Shvedova suffered a knee injury, had to undergo surgery, and more struggles in 2011 escorted her out of the Top 200 in singles. Now she’s worked her way back and her next opponent will be either fourth seed Petra Kvitova or Varvara Lepchenko.

Li’s exit leaves the French Open draw without former champions.

Second seed Maria Sharapova, after breezing through her first three matches, fought for three hours and 11 minutes before defeating Klara Zakopalova 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 in a the fourth-round encounter that featured 30 games, 21 of which were breaks of serve. Therefore, it’s pointless to even talk about who broke whom when. There were constant ups and downs. Interestingly, it was Zakopalova who finished the match with a better differential of winners to unforced errors, committing 48 unforced errors to Sharapova’s 53, and 44 winners to Sharapova’s 38.

Moreover, Sharapova served 12 double faults and Zakopalova 7. One of those double faults was on Sharapova’s third set point (she wasted three opportunities to serve out the match), while Zakopalova ended the match with a double fault. Sharapova’s quarterfinal opponent will be either seed No.23 Kaia Kanepi or Arantxa Rus.


  1. Great developments unrolling! I’m a bit sad for Zakopalova, but am as happy for Shvedova now as I was last year for Li Na. WTA Tour is, all in all, contrary to the common opinion, much more exciting than the ATP one. Oh, by the way, check out, if you care, Li Na’s post-match interview on the RG official website: the woman who once charmed us all with the funny stories about her husband’s snoring and credit-cards, this time put, a la Roddick, journalists, with their stupid, insensitive, suggestive questions right where they belong. Li Na – as true as life, in victory or defeat.

  2. Tulp, the interview is frustrating to watch. She could’ve been more cooperative, in my opinion.

  3. Funily enough, Marija, the rating by all the people who’ve seen the interview is three out of five stars – so I guess the opinions, or rather experiences, are just as sharply polarized as yours and mine.
    Now, talking about frustrations: well, *I* was frustrated by journalists’ (I’ll repeat) stupid, suggestive and, above all, insensitive questions – imagine then how frustrated Li Na must have been. Just look at her: bewildered, sad, angry (at herself) and so on, all at the same time, and now she has to cooperate by answering questions like “tell us how you feel”?!
    Most players’ post-match interviews are a royal pain in the arse, exactly because one knows what to expect, one can guess beforehand 3/4 of all the questions as well as the answers, having heard them zillion times before. “Concentrating on my game”, “one point at a time”, “confidence”, blah, blah, blah… Very few journalists out there have any *real* questions to ask, and a rather small minority of players has anything *real* to say. Li Na belongs to the latter: she had always had interesting things to say, even when answering uninteresting questions: she had been funny, thoughtful, analytical…, and now she was defiant, to the last, in her pain of having to answer stupid questions, minutes after a terrible, bewildering defeat. She may have not lived up to the expectations of the well-established, vacuous pattern, but she surely has, again, lived up to being here for real.


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