Djokovic loses to Li Na in battle of sexes
Top men's player Novak Djokovic was humbled by women's number five Li Na in a light-humoured charity match in Beijing yesterday, battling both the home crowd favourite and rules that were heavily in her favour
As Asia’s first singles Grand Slam winner, 2011 French Open champion Li is used to breaking barriers in a sport she has pioneered in China. But with the 31-year-old giving herself an advantage of at least 30-0 in the five games she played against Serbia's Djokovic, the light-hearted match never threatened to slip from her grasp — despite the 3-2 scoreline.
Li and Djokovic traded shots, as well as well-mannered banter across the nets in the match that was watched by 12,000 spectators at Beijing's Olympic Park.
The exhibition match was organised to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the China Open, where qualifying matches were being played earlier yesterday.
The sport’s original inter-gender contest was played 40 years ago between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.