Since her triumph at Roland Garros Li Na has been consistent with arranging new sponsorship deals, but her tennis results are regularly disappointing. The Chinese has recently signed on with two more sponsors, Crown (Australia's leading integrated entertainment and resort operator) and Kunlunshan (China's first mineral water brand), but when it comes to tennis, she doesn’t know what to do to help herself.
The world No.5 Li followed her US Open first round exit with a defeat in her first match at the Beijing Premier-level tournament. Against qualifier Monica Niculescu of Romania, Li was bageled in the second set and in the first set won four games, only after coming back from a 5-1 deficit.
Right now I've just lost all confidence. On the court I don't know what I can do. I felt even winning one point was tough for me. My coach came out and told me exactly what was right, but I couldn't do it.
To make things worse, Li played the semifinals of Beijing last year, so she will lose a lot of points. Niculescu, ranked 58th in the world, scored her first Top 10 win. (via WTA Tour, photo: © Neal Trousdale)