No one would have guessed Li Na was facing a grand slam novice as the Chinese second seed survived a rollercoaster opening set before reaching the Wimbledon second round with a 7-5 6-2 win over Polish qualifier Paula Kania on Monday.
For a woman who had never contested a singles match on the main tour before Monday, 183-ranked Kania could not have chosen a better arena to make her debut – the most famous Centre Court in tennis.
Instead of being overawed by her surroundings, 21-year-old Kania resembled a seasoned campaigner, romping to a 4-2 lead before extending it to 5-3 in the opening set.
But that was when Li’s experience as a double grand slam champion kicked in. The 32-year-old won 10 of the next 12 games to seal a second round date with Austrian Yvonne Meusburger.