Short Tennis

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2012, 2:12am


Confident Li marches past Britain's Watson

Li Na began her title bid with a rain-interrupted 6-2, 6-3 victory over Britain's Heather Watson. The ninth seed had too much power and experience for the former US Open junior champion as she advanced to the second round following a match that was interrupted by a rain delay that lasted almost two and a half hours. "I'm feeling a lot more confident," said Li, who lost in the finals at Montreal before winning the US$2.1 million tour stop in Cincinnati earlier this month. "I'm really happy I could win the first match. The last few years, I have lost in the first round." Li will face Australian Casey Dellacqua in the second round. They have played three times, the last time in 2008, and Li has won each time. Reuters

Some players probably take drugs, says Blake

Tennis, like other sports, was bound to have some players using performance-enhancing drugs, American James Blake said, but he felt authorities were doing all they could to ensure the sport was as clean as possible. "I'm sure there are guys who are doing it, getting away with it, and getting ahead of the testers," Blake said after defeating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in his first-round match. "It's unfortunate, but I hope tennis is doing the best job of trying to catch those guys trying to beat the system." Reuters

Murray hopes grand slam strike is avoided

Andy Murray overcame cramps, erratic serving, unforced errors and blustery conditions to defeat Russian Alex Bogomolov 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 before admitting a possible player strike of the 2013 Australian Open would be damaging to the sport. Murray said players were united in their push for an increased percentage of revenue from major championships but hoped a strike would fail to materialise. "Who knows what is going to happen. I hope it doesn't come down to that," Murray said. "That's bad for everybody, really." Strike action was first proposed at a heated player meeting before the Australian Open in January that led to a public rift between Rafael Nadal and world number one Roger Federer. Nadal, an 11-time grand slam champion, subsequently quit his role on the players council. Reuters

Nishikori out to inspire young players in Japan

Japan's highest-ever ranked player, Kei Nishikori, hopes his breakthrough performances can help wean his country's youngsters off their love of football and baseball. The 18th-ranked Nishikori, one of a record four Japanese men to make the main draw at the US Open, reached the quarter-finals at this year's Australian Open, the first man from his country to achieve the feat. He also reached a career-high ranking of 16th in March. "Hopefully, one day tennis can be big. There's me and Kimiko [Date Krumm] used to be in the top, but still soccer and baseball are the two biggest sports. I'd like to see tennis to get major," said the 22-year-old. Nishikori reached the second round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Argentine qualifier Guido Andreozzi, a welcome victory after suffering two injury-forced withdrawals in the first round in 2010 and 2011. AFP