China's Li Na eliminated from Wimbledon

08:56, June 24, 2011      

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China's French Open champion Li Na crashed out of Wimbledon on Thursday, losing 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 to German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

Li Na of China reacts during her match against Sabine Lisicki of Germany at the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Britain, June 23, 2011. Li Na lost 3-6, 6-4, 8-6. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

65th-ranked Lisicki will tackle Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi, who knocked out another Chinese player Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-1, for a place in the last 16.

Lisicki erased both match points with service winners at 5-4 in the third set. After Li hit a forehand long on Lisicki's third match point, the 21-year-old German fell to her knees at the baseline and put her head to the turf. She broke into tears at her courtside chair.

"The crowd really helped me when I was facing two match points. They cheered so loudly, I have never heard such a noise," said the winner.

Li served for the match twice in the final set but was broken each time. She had won 14 of her previous 15 Grand Slam matches in 2011, reaching the final at the Australian Open, then becoming China's first major singles champion at Roland Garros.

But Lisicki has now won 12 of her last 13 matches on grass courts, including reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2009 and winning a tuneup tournament in Birmingham this month.

She missed five months last season with a left ankle injury, and she fell out of the top 200 in the rankings. Lisicki is now back up to 62nd.

Li had eased through the first set with a break in the eighth game.

But Lisicki hit back in the second with a break to lead 3-1 before handing back the advantage in the ninth.

She wasn't to be denied, however, and levelled the match in the 10th game.

Li was again in charge with a break to lead 3-2 in the final set before a thrilling finale.

Li Na of China leaves after losing to Sabine Lisicki of Germany at the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Britain, June 23, 2011. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

At 3-5 down, Lisicki unleashed two serves at 122mph and 123mph to save match points followed by her 14th and 15th aces to take the game and cut the deficit to 4-5.

Lisicki then broke for 5-5, handed back the break for Li to lead 6-5 before the German refused to buckle and retrieved the break for 6-6.

She held for 7-6 and then carved out three match points in the 14th game.

Li saved two but cracked on the third when she sent a crosscourt drive wide.

Source: Xinhua
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