Li downs Pervak in Melbourne

2012-01-16 07:25

Melbourne - China's Li Na recovered from a slow start to down Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1 in stifling heat at the Australian Open on Monday.

Fifth-seeded Li, the reigning French Open champion and runner-up to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne last year, overcame the dangerous Pervak in 69 minutes.

Pervak, the world number 40, matched Li for much of the first set as the two players traded a series of booming groundstrokes.

However the Chinese star always looked the more threatening and she drew first blood when she broke Pervak to go to 4-2, only to surrender a break in the next game.

But Li then stepped up to break Pervak straight back, winning the next five games to take the first set and open a 3-0 lead in the second.

Pervak stemmed the tide briefly when she broke Li to make it 3-1, but it was only a temporary reprieve as the world number six raced away with the match in stifling heat in the Hisense Arena.

"It's not easy (playing in that heat)," she said. "I'm not used to it. I came down from Sydney, but there it was only like 20 degrees.

"It was really tough today(Monday)."