China's Li upbeat despite Open defeat
[ 2009-09-10 14:59]
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NEW YORK: Li Na's bid to become just the second Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal was thwarted on Tuesday when she lost 6-2, 6-4 to comeback queen Kim Clijsters.
But the 27-year-old from Wuhan said that her run into the quarterfinals was a reward in itself for her long and at times arduous, three-year battle against injury since reaching the last eight at Wimbledon in 2006.
"I felt I could have done much better today. But maybe it was the day for her and not for me," she said.
"But I did well for the whole tournament. Good experience for me.
"The last three years I tried a lot. I was injured and then tried and came back. I feel I did well in those three years."
Li, who played badminton as a youngster before coaches advised her to switch to tennis because she played with more shoulder action than wrist action, quickly fell behind to Clijsters, who has made a stunning comeback to the sport after two years away.
Li launched a brief rally in the second set, taking four games in a row to lead 4-3, but could not keep it up as the Belgian former US Open champion ran off the last three games.
"She is so much stronger than the other girls," Li said.
A win for Li and a spot in the semifinals would have matched the wildcard effort of Zheng Jie at last year's Wimbledon, the best singles run by a Chinese player, male or female.
She herself was the first from China to make it into a Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2006, where she also lost to Clijsters.
Still, Li has made a lasting impression in her seventh appearance at the US Open and she was given a prominent spread in the sports pages of the New York Times on Tuesday.
Following her around Manhattan's famous Chinatown, Li expressed her love for New York and delight at finding tastes and sounds of home in such a far-flung place.
"I was feeling fine, because I was walking along but nobody knew who I was," Li said of the experience after her defeat to Clijsters.
"I mean, I was walking along and I was feeling like walking in China because everyone was speaking Chinese.
"They don't even speak English in Chinatown.
"Also, you can order whenever you want food. The food, the taxi, just like China."
She said she would have gone back there on Wednesday had she defeated Clijsters. Now "maybe I will fly back (to China) tomorrow".
1. How old is Li Na and from which Chinese city does she come?
2. What was the final score of the match she was playing in?
3. Which country was her opponent from?
1. 27 years of age and from Wuhan.
2. 6-2, 6-4.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op'Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily's Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.