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Li Na sends Belgian teenager packing

TENNIS: Li Na sent a teenage prodigy packing for the second successive round at the Australian Open and then discussed this week's revelations that she considered quitting the game before Wimbledon last year.

The Chinese player ended up having the most consistent season of her career in 2013 and finished the year ranked third in the world.

But in an interview with Melbourne newspaper The Age, Li revealed she told coach Carlos Rodriguez on the way to London from Eastbourne last summer that she wanted to retire.

She decided to play at Wimbledon and see how it went, and a run to the quarter-finals persuaded her to continue.

She said: "It wasn't about how I hit the ball on the court, it was about so many things off the court. But I was really happy I did well in Wimbledon, so that's why I've continued until now. Otherwise, I don't know where I would have been now."

Those days now appear far behind Li. The fourth seed was up against 16-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic, having knocked out another 16-year-old, Croatian Ana Konjuh, in the first round.

Bencic gave notice of just what a talent she is by fighting all the way before going down 6-0 7-6 (7/5).

World number one Serena Williams wasted little energy in winning her second-round match 6-1 6-2 against Serbia's Vesna Dolonc.

Temperatures again hit 40C, and Williams said: "It was tough conditions out there. I think it keeps getting hotter.

Next up the top seed meets 31st seed Daniela Hantuchova, who needed more than three hours to see off Karolina Pliskova 6-3 3-6 12-10.

Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki said she had been beaten by the heat after a surprise loss to Monica Niculescu of Romania while home hope Casey Dellacqua upset 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-0.


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