Indian Wells: China’s Li Na is loving her tennis life, despite elevated expectations and an inevitable smattering of nay-sayers who still think her two Grand Slam titles are a fluke.
“Of course I always hear a lot,” the World No 2 said on Monday after booking her fourth-round berth at the Indian Wells hardcourt tournament with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Czech Karolina Pliskova. “So many people say ‘Oh, she’s lucky.’ After I won the French, after I won in Australia, they say ‘Oh, she’s lucky, she cannot win anymore, blah, blah, blah.
“I say, that’s OK, doesn’t matter. I already have two (Grand Slams) in my pocket. Nobody can take it. I still love tennis life, I don’t care what other people say.”
If the critics don’t get to her, Li admitted that she is having to learn how to handle herself now that she’s coming into big tournaments as a favorite. The World No 2 is the top seed at Indian Wells for the first time, and admitted it was a different feeling.
“I try to feel the same, but it is different. Before if I came to a tournament maybe I was like number six or number seven seed. Now it’s high attention, everyone is focused (on me).”
Li will now take on Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, a 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 winner over 21st-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.