Li stuns Serena to lose top spot to Jankovic

October 2nd, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena WilliamsStuttgart, Oct 2 (DPA) Serena Williams crashed 6-0, 1-6, 4-6 against China’s Li Na in the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix and will lose the world number one ranking to Serbian Jelena Jankovic again.Williams, 27, Wednesday collapsed after the first set as the 30th-ranked Li triumphed in 1 hour 35 minutes. Li squandered three match points at 5-3 but served out the match in the next game, from 0-40 down and winning with her sixth ace.

“I started making a lot of errors, I gave it to her, I started doubting myself. I didn’t do what I did in the first set,” said Williams.

Li said: “I didn’t have a chance in the first set. But I told myself it has only been 20 minutes and I could be winning after an hour. I knew I just had to hang in there.”

Li, who defeated the other Williams sister Venus at the Beijing Olympics, has been plagued by injuries in the past, sidelined with a rib fracture last year and undergoing knee surgery in March.

“I believe I can be in the top 10 if I stay healthy,” she said.

Williams was playing her first match since beating Jankovic for the US Open title three and a half weeks ago which lifted her past the Serb to the top of the rankings she had first occupied July 2002-August 2003.

WTA officials in Stuttgart said that the Serb Jankovic will be the top ranked player again from Monday onwards when the new rankings are released, regardless how she fares in Stuttgart.

“Obviously I want to be number one but I am not focussing on that. I play to win titles and Grand Slams,” said Williams.

“I guarantee that I will come back. If I do the right things, which I didn’t do today, the ranking will come. If you keep winning you will be on top.”

Williams had a first-round bye in Stuttgart, along with second seed Jankovic and the Russian pair of Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva, the tournament number three and four, respectively.

In other second-round action, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus stunned Polish eight seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 7-5, fighting from 5-3 down in the second set.

Azarenka now meets the Olympic champion Dementieva who claimed a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Austrian Sybille Bammer.

In earlier first-round action, Patty Schnyder defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova for the first in more than three years, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in 2:05 hours.

The 11th-ranked Swiss Schnyder, 29, got the vital break for 6-5 in the final set and won on first match point when the fifth-seeded Kuznetsova, a three-time Stuttgart semi-finalist, hit a backhand wide.

Schnyder had not beaten the Russian Kuznetsova since May 2005 in Berlin, with Kuznetsova winning the last three matches and leading the overall series 5-3.

“I played a great match, it was a real fight. There were lots of winners and break points. She defended the baseline well, it was very tough,” said Schnyder.

Schnyder plays the 2006 champion Nadia Petrova on Thursday, with the winner meeting Li in the quarters.

There was more luck for Russia when Vera Zvonareva defeated Slovak Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-2 in her first indoor match of the autumn season. The seventh-seeded Zvonareva won nine games in a row from 3-1 down in the first set to 4-0 in the second.

“This was my first match indoors. It was tough to play my best tennis,” said Zvonareva, who next meets French Marion Bartoli.

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