TENNIS: China's Li crashes out of Stuttgart quarter-finals
STUTTGART: French Open winner Li Na of China was the first quarter-final casualty of Stuttgart's WTA clay-court tournament yesterday following her three-sets defeat to Agnieszka Radwanska.
Li Na, the 2011 winner at Roland Garros, was beaten 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 by Polish fourth-seed Agnieszka, who will play either World No 1 Victoria Azarenka or wildcard Mona Barthel who met in a later match yesterday.
After dominating the first set, Li Na struggled to cope as Agnieszka raised her game with a series of drop shots and strong returns in the second before carrying her improved form into the third.
With Roland Garros to start on May 27, Agnieszka said she is enjoying finding her feet on clay-court as she bids to win her first Grand Slam title having claimed nine wins on the WTA tour.
"I am enjoying my tennis and just trying everything at the moment," said the 23-year-old, ranked fourth in the world and who claimed her ninth tour win at Miami recently.
"I just hope this is my year, so I can take the next step."
All of Agnieszka's four losses this year have come at the hands of Victoria and having also reached the semi-finals here last year, the Polish No 1 said it takes a special effort to beat the World No 1.
"You have to be at the top of your game and play some great tennis to beat her," admitted Agnieszka.
In yesterday's other last four ties, World No 2 Maria Sharapova took on fifth-seed and US Open winner Samantha Stosur while Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova faced Angelique Kerber. AFP