FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Li NaÂ received a boost of confidence by winning Cincinnati less than two weeks ago, her first tournament win of the year. The momentum carried over to her first round match of the US Open on Monday, where the former French Open champion displayed her experience, power and control in defeating Great Britainâ€™s Â Heather Watson 6-2, 6-3 on Court 17.
â€œAt least I win the title this year,â€ said a smiling Li of herÂ Western and Southern Open tournament win.
â€œBecause before I was like three times in the final but I always lose in three sets.Â I was happy I can win in Cincy.Â Nice time if I come to final again I can tell myself, Okay, you can do it.Â Like before, Oh, come on, you always lose the final.Â What happen?â€
The ninth seedÂ continued, â€œCincy is over.Â So you go somewhere else, you have to looking forward to see what you should do in the US Open.â€
On the match Li said her years on the court won her the match. â€œAt least I was 10 years older than her, so I got more experience on the court.Â I mean, she’s play very good, but sometimes I have to show her how good I am.
â€œSo maybe I was put little more pressure for her to â€‘â€‘Â I mean, doesn’t matter.Â I was like 3â€‘1 down or 5â€‘3 up.Â If she look me I always been there, so maybe a little bit tough for her.â€
Along with some new confidence is a new coach â€“ Li dismissed her husband who was her coach, and hired the former coach of Justine Henin, Carlos Rodriguez.
â€œAfter I got new coach I think for both me and my husband I think much, much easier.Â Love is love; coach is coach.Â You have to separate.
â€œYou know, I mean, after I change the coach, didn’t say my husband didn’t do a good job.Â I think he’s still doing good job.Â But for both sometimes it’s too much, you know.Â Like it’s really tough to find a balance between coaching and husband.â€
The match numbers tell the story of how dominant theChinese woman was against her opponent â€“ knocking 28 winners past her opponent, won almost 60 percent of the baseline points, putting almost almost 80 pe rcent of returns in play and was only broken once.
Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.