Li Na hammers Mandy Minella to clear the opening hurdle – Shenzhen Open 2013
World number seven, Li Na, started the new season at the Shenzhen Open on Tuesday. She posted the victory against the 27-year-old Luxembourgian, Mandy Minella, thrilling the home crowd with some mind-startling winners. The 30-year-old
Chinese won the match in straight sets 6-4, 6-0.
Minella was handed a very tough draw and she looked a bit weak with her powerful ground strokes as well. It gave enough time for the local superstar to get under the ball and smack it back with immense pace that almost made it
impossible for the 77th ranked Luxembourgian to have any sort of command on the point.
Both players started off with a serve hold. Ironically, the visitor was the first to put the opponent under pressure but she couldn’t extract a breakthrough that could have allowed her to have a strong grip at the proceedings.
However when Li was handed an opportunity, she smartly placed the ball at the corner of the court and picked up the breakpoint required to give her an extra confidence.
At the end of the eight games, the scores were 5-3 in favour of the Chinese with her rival serving to stay in the set. Minella did the basics right and clasped a serve hold at the crucial point but failed to win a single point
in the following game that ended the opening set in quick succession. It was a disappointing end for the Luxembourgian who looked quite solid with her serves; just a single lapse of concentration cost her entire set.
The after-effects of the loss were witnessed in the second set. Li hammered her rival at her will; clinched a break serve in the first game and mounted a lead of 4-0 shortly after gathering the second breakthrough of the set. Minella
was completely lost and failed to hold her opponent from registering a hat-trick of breakpoints. Li didn’t spare a single thought in dispatching her rival in the following game; ending the match with a bagel to her name.
The American Julia Cohen is the next rival for the in-form 30-year-old Chinese superstar.