Li Na has new-found confidence after Aussie Open triumph

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Li Na explained how winning a second Grand Slam has helped her prove to herself – along with her doubters – that her first major triumph at the French Open in 2011 was no fluke.

It took her almost two and half years to add a second Grand Slam title to her resume but the 31-year-old can now proudly say she is no one-Slam wonder.

“I heard a lot, after 2011, so many people say ‘oh, she is lucky, she only can win one, she cannot win a second one’,” Li Na told reporters in Doha on Wednesday. “So I didn't want to show all of them, but at least I show myself I can win the second one. And also, because I was prepared for what I should do to win the Grand Slam.

“So I was really happy. It doesn't matter how old I am, I'm still young. So I'm still happy I can move a lot on the court.”

In her first match since winning the Australian Open, the Chinese extended her undefeated run this season by claiming her 13th consecutive victory – a tough 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win over Slovakian world No32 Magdalena Rybarikova, in a match that saw a total of 26 break point chances.

Li Na, who will rise to No2 in the world when the new rankings come out on Monday, making her the highest-ranked Asian in the history of the WTA, had lost her only previous meeting to Rybarikova, who defeated the Chinese to win her first career title in Birmingham in 2009.

The top seeded Li Na had a strong start, wrapping up the first set 6-1, hitting 12 winners and saving all three break points she faced.

Rybarikova, who played a lengthy three-setter against Francesca Schiavone the previous day, upped her game in the second set, capitalising on her numerous break point opportunities.

Li Na kept falling behind and breaking back but Rybarikova finally took the set when her opponent sent a backhand wide before the Australian Open champion recovered in the final set and successfully booked herself a spot in the last 16. 

Having recently had her autobiography released in English, Li Na says she is hoping it can shed some light on how much work she put into her career. 

She says her mother, who has never been to any stadium to watch her play, not even the Olympics in Beijing, finally got a chance to appreciate the work her daughter does by reading the book.

"I really wish people can now understand what I'm doing and what I do. Especially my mum," added Li Na. "I think for my mum is special, because when I won the French Open she called me saying, ‘Oh, Li Na, you only won one tournament. Why are you in all the newspapers?' 

“I was like ‘Thanks, mom,“ because she's not interested in any sport. I don't know how to explain to her what I am doing. So at least after the book, she will have a better understanding.”

Li Na will take on Petra Cetkovska for a spot in the quarter-finals in Doha.

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