PARIS — Defending champion Li Na admitted that she feared falling into the same French Open abyss that had swallowed Serena Williams before easing into the third round on Thursday.
The Chinese star reached the last 32 with a comfortable 6-0, 6-2 win over France’s Stephanie Foretz Gacon despite a potentially hostile crowd on Suzanne Lenglen court.
“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning. It’s always tough against a French player in Paris — I saw the match two days ago, so I was a little bit nervous,” said Li.
She was referring to Williams’ sensational defeat to French outsider Virginie Razzano on Tuesday, the American’s first opening round defeat in her Grand Slam exit.
Li, 30, the seventh seed and Asia’s first and only Grand Slam singles winner, immediately took the French supporters out of the match by breaking Foretz Gacon in the first game with aggressive baseline play.