• China’s Li targets second Slam crown


    Li Li Na of China makes a return during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. Afp photo

    MELBOURNE: China’s Li Na set her sights on a second Grand Slam title on Saturday as she voiced hope a new, more aggressive approach could help her end her Australian Open jinx.

    The world number four, who turns 32 next month, said her target for the year was adding to her 2011 French Open win, the first and only major singles title won by an Asian player.

    And she said the hunt for a second Slam win was keeping any thoughts of retirement at bay.

    “I really wish I can win another Grand Slam. This is the goal for me,” said Li, when asked to outline her goals for the year.

    “If I make it, for sure I’ll be happy. If I don’t, this still is my goal. I will keep going for that.”

    Li has twice made the Australian Open final and has led both times before being overcome by Kim Clijsters in 2011 and Victoria Azarenka last year.

    A year ago, Li was a set up before she painfully rolled her ankle, and she then went down on it a second time and banged her head so hard that she blacked out.

    “I mean, I always do well in here so really looking forward to the Open,” she told reporters. “This year I’ll try not to fall down on court at least,” she joked.

    Li reached the season-ending WTA Championships final and finished the year at a career-high world number three ranking, before starting 2014 with victory at the Shenzhen Open.

    She said her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, had encouraged her to come into the net and play more aggressively.

    “I’m getting old, need less time on the court,” she joked.

    “Before, I only used to stay on the baseline. [Rodriguez said] ‘You’re on this tour so many years, everyone knows exactly how you play’.

    “Maybe he just wants to change it little bit to see me stronger on the court.”

    Li will start against a qualifier next week. Her draw has thrown up a potential quarterfinals against Petra Kvitova and a semifinals with world number one Serena Williams.


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