PARIS (Reuters) - China’s only grand slam singles champion Li Na was bundled out of the French Open by American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Thursday, losing a rain-interrupted match 5-7 6-3 6-2.
Sixth seed Li, who became a flagbearer for Asian tennis in 2011 when she won the French Open, edged the first set but after two lengthy rain breaks her game fell apart.
Mattek-Sands, wearing knee-high black socks, resumed after the second interruption 4-3 ahead in the second set and then reeled off seven games in a row.
Li eventually stopped the rot to break serve as Mattek-Sands served for the match at 5-0 and then held her own to reduce the deficit but her revival came too late.
With rain still falling and play stopped on many other courts the 66th-ranked American held her nerve and sealed victory when her opponent netted a forehand.
Li refused to make excuses for her defeat.
”I know for sure that I don’t normally lose seven games in a row,“ she told reporters. ”It was very tough conditions, coming back to the court three times.
”But for both players it was the same.
“I should find out what happened and I’ll talk to myself, my team to see what happened.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Justin Palmer