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Strong-starting Li targets another first in Melbourne

Updated: 2013-01-10 09:31
( Agencies)

Strong start

Strong-starting Li targets another first in Melbourne

Li Na of China reacts after winning a point against Madison Keys of US during their women's singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament, Jan 9, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Li was the first Chinese player to win a singles event on the WTA circuit, the first ranked in the top 20 and the first to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinals, at Wimbledon in 2006.

In 2010, she became the first Chinese player to reach the top 10 and then, in 2011, she reached the Australian Open final before becoming the first player representing an Asian country to win a Grand Slam singles title at the French Open.

The start of her season has always been strong and she won the title in Sydney in 2011 before reaching the final again last year.

After this week, her rivals know that if Li does melt down in Melbourne, it will not be because of the heat.

Li comes from Wuhan - one of three Chinese cities known as "the furnaces" for their fierce summers - and coolly played through temperatures in excess of 40 degree Celsius in Sydney on Tuesday.

"It felt like playing in a sauna," she said. "But at least I have played in the high temperatures and not gone straight (to Melbourne from China) without any matches inbetween."

Related stories about Li Na's 2013 season:

Li Na scorches throughin Sydney

Chinese Li Na eyes 7th WTA title

Li gets Melbourne boost with Shenzhen title

Li starts new season with big win at WTA Shenzhen Open

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