Bartoli had looked in control of the match, a more athletic figure that in recent years, but still the same intensity that she brought to the second half of last season. Bartoli was crushing Li’s second serve and when China’s most famous female tennis player took some pace off her first serve just to get one in Bartoli stepped in and crushed them too.
The second set saw Li Na pick up her intensity and first serve percentage and really get down to the ball where necessary. She carried the momentum for the rest of the match but despite her win it wasn’t enough for China.
Her compatriot Wu Di was crushed by Richard Gasquet before the French team proved too dominant in the mixed doubles winning 6-1, 6-1.
Li has attributed her post French Open slump to her sudden popularity, saying she was distracted by all her new found commitments.
“After the French Open my life changed. If I go somewhere to play a tournament, more people know who I am.
I’m only focusing on photo shoots. It’s tough after winning a big title, maintaining the concentration – so many photo shoots.”
“It’s bad, we’re always fighting. It’s tough, he’s always telling me, ‘Move your feet, move your feet!’ I’m thinking, ‘Why are you shouting at me?’
I only listen to him for two hours a day now, I told him, ‘When I am on the court, I will listen to you. When we are away from the court, you have to listen to me’!
This is the perfect start to a new season and a great way to be getting ready for the Australian Open. My New Year’s resolution is to win another grand slam.”