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Tennis: Li Na follows triumph with a tumble

Published on Feb 14, 2014 6:17 AM
 
Li Na of China hits a return to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia during their Qatar Open women's tennis match in Doha, on Feb 12, 2014. Top-seeded Li Na's Australian Open triumph last month was followed by a stunning tumble when she lost to a qualifier in the third round of the Qatar Open on Thursday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA (AFP) - Top-seeded Li Na's Australian Open triumph last month was followed by a stunning tumble when she lost to a qualifier in the third round of the Qatar Open on Thursday.

The celebrated Chinese player was beaten 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4 by Petra Cetkowska, a Czech ranked outside the top 100, in a topsy-turvy contest in Li's first tournament since her Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne.

She seemed to have turned the match around when she came from behind to lead 3-1 in the final set, but then appeared to run out of steam in a two-hour 46-minute contest in which her ratio of errors increasingly soared.

Her consolations are that she will still be world number two for the first time - the highest ever by an Asian player - at the end of the week, and that she mostly stuck to an ambitiously aggressive game plan despite a disruptive wind.

 
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